Let’s begin, this story, kind of a list, not necessarily in order, but best described in the imagined and beloved voice of Casey Kasem, and preferably on a sunny week(end) morning, birds chirping, coffee percolating, kitty meowing, and the “radio” humming. “Casey” Kasem was an awesome American disc jockey, actor, and radio personality, who created and hosted several radio countdown-programs, notably American Top 40. I guess I know him more, by my brother’s rendition or a mimicked version of Shaggy, every week, since I can remember.
“You” always felt like Casey was the best travel companion, therefore we’ll graciously “invite” his magnificent “voice” and him along our “journey” through the ether to the top places to visit, explore, and experience and for the week of chart topping, heart pounding, mind blowing history with your mystery. Spooktacular views, heavenly “radio”, otherworldly frequencies, and exquisite beauty will surround us as we sour through and by. “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” And we’re off, got the coffee to go!
#40 – Oakland, really Alameda! Home of The A’s! We can watch an epic rivalry slug it out with our awesome giant neighbors in San Francisco, watch fireworks, point out the curse of the bambino, eat a footlong hotdog drenched in questionable cheese and chili, wash it down with a 12-dollar beer, or witness Barry Bonds hit his 715th homerun, oh wait, that already happened. It was amazing! However, “Oakland is known for many things, including having more artists per capita than any other city in the world. It also hosts the infamous, “Oak-ness Monster,” which lurks in the depths of Lake Merritt. But the crowning jewel of the Bay Area has to be the Oakland Temple because it’s beautiful, castle-like spires are a well-known landmark. A night in this city can feel like a mini (“enlighted”) world tour.” (Source templehill.org) Casey would say a “grand-slam” of a destination.
#39 – Sausalito means place of abundance! The views abundantly clear, bright, and sunny! “Sausalito was a center for bootlegging during the era of Prohibition in the United States. Because of its location facing the Golden Gate and isolated from San Francisco by the same waterway, it was also a favorite landing spot for rum runners. The 1942 film China Girl has some footage of Sally Stanford’s Valhalla restaurant on the waterfront.” “The Sausalito-on-the-Waterfront Foundation, incorporated in May 2009, is a non-profit California public benefit corporation. Its mission is to educate the public on the history of the Sausalito waterfront and environmental issues related to San Francisco Bay. Some activities of the foundation include the Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade and Fireworks, Opening Day on the Bay celebration, Youth Sailing Program, Burning Woman Artists Waterfront Exhibit, Kids Waterfront Day-in-the-Park and Jazz & Blues On-the-Waterfront.” We could rum-run our way through while watching the heavenly views.
#38 – The island of incarceration, or island of freedom, you decide as we travel by ferry boat. I get so seasick, “Charon”! “Alcatraz reveals stories of American incarceration, justice, and our common humanity. This small island was once a fort, a military prison, and a maximum-security federal penitentiary. In 1969, the Indians of All Tribes occupied Alcatraz for 19 months in the name of freedom and Native American civil rights. We’re invited to explore Alcatraz’s complex (haunting, decrepit, fear-factor-style, tormented) history and natural beauty,” and for me a visit to solitary with ghosts of great grandfather’s past, Rufus McCain. (Read blog, What Happened to Jane) Related by marriage and a fateful decision, that looms overhead still! No black clouds today!
#37 – “Explore your world from the heart of Golden Gate Park.” “The past, present, and future of life on Earth come alive through hands-on exhibits, fascinating specimens, and a peek into the latest research conducted by the Academy’s working scientists.” “Step inside a lush, four-story rainforest that’s teeming with life, from free-flying birds to exotic reptiles, amphibians, golden silk orb-weaver spiders, and enormous Amazonian fish that glide overhead. Surround yourself with hundreds of tropical, freshwater fish by taking the flooded forest tunnel, a transparent passage that plunges right through their 100,000-gallon Amazonian tank. See cichlids dart through the roots of a mangrove cluster while giant arapaima soar overhead.” Then it’s off to see the wizard in a “75-foot dome that will immerse you inside cutting-edge visualizations and hyper-realistic virtual environments.” “From faraway galaxies to the workings of our own planet, experience the cosmos like never before.” “Every star, planet, spacecraft, or galaxy a viewer encounters (imagination abounds) in the planetarium precisely mirrors a real-world counterpart, and when this virtual cosmos is projected onto Morrison’s 75-foot-diameter screen, the dome itself seems to disappear, resulting in a uniquely immersive experience.” “In the Academy’s newest original planetarium show, discover how a deeper understanding of Earth might help us spot other living worlds, light years away.” (Source calacademy.org) A heavenly, earthy, and galactic day awaits!
#36 – “Formally known as the “Egg Basket of the World” for its bustling egg industry in the early 20th century, Petaluma (pop. 57,908) is now known as a foodie haven in Northern California,” and serving me up the best eggs for breakfast, Easter, and hooligans with their high-school pranks ever since. I know Petaluma for Washington Street, down-town antique stores, history, art, fishing bait, whales of “tales”, Miwok’s, American Graffiti parades, artfully painted inspiring murals, charm, ugly dogs (no such thing), heavenly gardens, poetry, and a foodie’s fantasy. (Source SonomaCounty.com) I hope we run into Winona; stranger things have happened!
#35 – “Vallejo is known as the home to the California Maritime Academy, Touro University of California, and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.” “It’s best known for its stunning coastal location and massive ballistic missile display dating back to the Cold War era (Still artic).” (Source travelentirety.com) For me my love for Yacca and Vicca (Orca’s), butterflies, monarchs too, water skiing, and hunky EMT’s stemmed, and I’ve been returning ever since for Medusa, for a spell of a whale tail named Shouka, and the unquenchable knowledge and time spent for and of researching sea “life”. The weather is always perfect, and a great day always had!
#34 – “Jenner, also known as Jenner-by-the-Sea, is a small coastal town and is located on the Pacific coast near the mouth of the Russian River.” A perfect spot for fishing on the edge of Earth, before making a quick right that appears out from an enormous mountain (Bohemian Highway) and snakes through winding, ancient towering redwood trees to “nowhere” or “home” of the paranormal, “five-star” “resorts”, mountain dwellers, converted 1960’s mental institution (Shh, you didn’t “hear” this from me), private eccentric eyes and “concealed” plans, forests surrounding an over-the-top golf course and the most mysterious history cultivated, seeded, and harvested since time began. Casey would probably interview bigfoot, but I heard bigfoot plays more metal than pop music these days and still a recluse.
#33 – “Perched on a dramatic bluff high above the Pacific Ocean lies Timber Cove: iconic, reimagined. A one-of-a-kind hotel situated within California’s ruggedly breathtaking Sonoma coastline; Timber Cove is a magical place where stately redwoods pay homage before the vastness of the sea.” Otherworldly place for watching whales, wishing upon canopies of stars overhead, waskilly raccoons, a magical piano, and the immense and eternal Pacific Ocean. I feel a story by the crackling campfire while roasting marshmallows a must! Three cheers to us while stargazing “out loud”.
#32 – Occidental is no accident! Over the hills, totem poles, through the vast “flying” mountains, whispers of conspiracies, and the mysteriously “peeking” sunlight trees, lies a small quaint village. Perfect for the next best rock-folk album ever created, or a Hollywood “blockbuster”, heavenly scenic backdrop for an oil painting (Picasso inspired), Hallmark movie, or a novel the likes a Twain and a Steinbeck would, “tip their hat” too. Just in this ghostwriter’s imagination, but a physical location dwells in this magical realm. According to SonomaCounty.com and the few times I visited Negri’s for the finest minestrone soup, God ever created; “Nestled among the redwoods, rolling green pastures filled with sheep, goats, cows, deer, and llamas, is the beautiful former logging village of Occidental, California in the county of Sonoma.” Regarding my untippable beanie with a puff ball on top, I’ll nod instead; “Likely popularized in Anglo-Western societies in the etiquette-obsessed 18th and 19th centuries, the custom of tipping, or doffing, one’s hat refers to the common practice of touching one’s hat or lifting it fully off one’s head as a polite method of greeting or saying goodbye.” (Tipping my hat for bestlifeonline.com, Occidental, Italian food and family, mysterious places, and unforgettable faces.)
#31 – “Five miles from Ferndale, secluded and breathtakingly beautiful Centerville Beach offers an alluring taste of the mostly inaccessible Lost Coast with its wild waves, windswept bluffs and coastal wildlife (including many species of birds, Harbor seals and migrating Gray whales in spring and fall). The beach is ideal for picnicking, off-leash dog play, horseback riding and bird watching. Continue north toward the mouth of the Eel River for access to sloughs, dunes and wetlands, or drive up the ridge on Centerville Road to find the Fleener Creek and Guthrie Creek trailheads, part of the 463-acre Lost Coast Headlands National Monument.” (Source visitferndale.com) That’s a blast to your quads, you’ll enjoy!
#30 – “Mendocino is an enchanted place filled with real, unspoiled California opportunities and inhabited by fun-loving misfits, mavericks and makers.” “Explore some of the most remote and ruggedly beautiful coastline in California, no backpack required. The 28-mile Mattole Road, a legendary scenic route known to locals as “The Wildcat,” traverses through alpine forests, by tiny, secluded towns and down an epic drop to the ocean at Cape Mendocino, where sweeping cliffside views give Big Sur and the Hawaiian Islands a run for their money. Continue on to Petrolia for lunch at The Yellow Rose.” Murder She Wrote was filmed in Mendocino and Angela Lansbury one of my favorite actresses of all time! And with “Casey’s” voice we’ll quote the living angel’s words, “Better to be busy than to be busy worrying.” Better pedal faster “Scoob”; “Mystery is something that appeals to most everybody.”
#29 – Feeling majestic, we should escape to Fort Bragg. The light is otherworldly; “The Lighthouse sits atop a rugged cliff with hiking trails around the edge. Seals play below the cliff edges among the jagged rocks and crashing waves. In the distance water shoots up from the spout of a whale migrating to warmer waters in the south.” (Source tripadvisor.com, pointcabrillo.org, a visit around 9 years old, and Wikipedia) “There’s always something exciting happening at the Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park.” The birds will “talk” your ear off, so let’s get a move on, shake a tail feather. Not before exploring the vast amount of history, Poseidon has crashed upon those shores. Sea shanties and shandies aplenty!
#28 – Ahoy Bodega Bay! “An unexpected getaway in a soul-stirring hideaway with its rugged shoreline and rolling countryside, the Sonoma Coast has its roots firmly planted in the land,” and my feet in the sand since I can begin to remember and before walking. Sandcastles galore and more! The Lodge at Bodega Bay, located on a sloping hill overlooking Doran Regional Park area with views of the Pacific Ocean and Bodega Bay beyond.” Just make sure you and Casey have sun block on, the cloud cover makes for a sneaky sunburn. Let’s take our candy and kites with us and head for the shore! A long day of frisbee enjoyed.
#27 – “Located amid western Sonoma County’s rolling hills (just slightly inland from the coast) the off-the-beaten-track village of Valley Ford blends country hospitality with culinary and artistic sophistication. The surrounding land has long been home to farms and ranches (looks like land before time, I would have filmed Jurassic Park here), with sweeping vistas that include beautiful old barns and plenty of grazing cows. If you have your own kayak (or if you’re incredibly fit and own a standup paddle board), try the six-mile paddle from Valley Ford, westward along the Estero Americano estuary, to Bodega Bay. It’s one of the most beautiful and idyllic paddling excursions around, and you’ll be amazed by the diverse bird life along the way. The bucolic landscape in and around Valley Ford is made for cycling. You could follow Highway 1 into Bodega Bay, spending time at Bodega Head with its glorious ocean views. (You can physically stand on 30 rock) Or you could simply pedal the smaller, meandering local roads that leave Valley Ford and edge the Estero Americano.” (Source sonomacounty.com, Rocker Oysterfeller’s, Dinucci’s Italian Dinners (Excellence without extravagance), and us zooming through the hills, by the trees, radar love blasting the perfect 68-degree airwaves, and for luxurious ease.
#26 – What’s that saxophone blaring? I’ve got the blues! “Monterey’s present-day attractions include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, California Roots Music and Arts Festival, and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival.” “The Language Capital of the World,” the ghostly and ghastly literature, the energetic jazz music and spirits playing otherworldly instruments all night long, crashing tides, and the “Stevenson House” to rest our heads for a very memorable night ahead. “In 1879, Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson stayed at the French Hotel at 530 Houston Street, now called the Stevenson House after him and dedicated to his memory.” This jazzy “Jeff” wrote The Strange Case of Jekyll Hyde. “It is about a London legal practitioner named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the vernacular phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” referring to people with an unpredictably dual nature: outwardly good, but sometimes shockingly evil.” What is predictable, Monterey is divinely “made” for an unforgettable stay and likely haunted; shh, I “hear” “Manuela” is standing “nearby” and ready for a “tour” from the “other-side”.
#25 – Santa Cruz doesn’t just have the most awesome sandcastles, roller skaters, and the famous beach boardwalk to admire, whilst blasting your top 40 fav surfer’s tunes; but has as much history as sands through this hourglass! These kites can soar over 12,000 years of blue skies, historical clouds of conquering, and waves of lost reverence to the sea, ghostships, or Poseidon. “Indigenous people “lived” in the Santa Cruz region for at least 12,000 years. Prior to the arrival of Spanish soldiers, missionaries and colonists in the late 18th century, the area was home to the Awaswas nation of Ohlone people, who lived in a territory stretching slightly north of Davenport to Rio Del Mar (wouldn’t you?). The Awaswas tribe was made up of no more than one thousand people and their language, sadly is now extinct. The only remnants of their spoken language are three local place names: Aptos, Soquel and Zayante; and the name of a native shellfish, abalone.” We’ll chat abalone, mothers of pearls, and the wisdom of jewels another day of writing by the seashore.
#24 – “Nesting from a birds eye view on Monterey Bay, Capitola is a little beach town with a big claim to fame: It’s the oldest beach resort on the West Coast. The Capitola Classic was a skateboarding event held in Capitola village in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Capitola Classic was known in skating circles for its annual downhill race, which was a head-to-head speed competition that drew top names in the sport, many local as well as international, including Santa Cruz, California local John Hutson, who held the world speed record for skateboarding at 53.45 mph and dominated the event each year. In the summer of 1961 hundreds of birds attacked the town. Most of the birds were sooty shearwaters, a normally non-aggressive species that rarely comes to shore. Alfred Hitchcock was a regular visitor to nearby Santa Cruz and read about this episode. He went on to direct a film (The Birds) based on the idea of hundreds of birds attacking humans. The reason for this attack remained unknown for over 25 years until it was discovered that the birds had been affected by domoic acid, a toxin produced by red algae.” Birds of a feather let’s flock elsewhere together; drop the breadcrumbs, and a sure fav for the pecking order.
#23 – “San Simeon (Spanish: San Simeón, meaning “St. Simon” and gloriously beautiful) is a village on the Pacific coast of San Luis Obispo County, California, United States. Its position along State Route 1 is about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, each of those cities being roughly 230 miles (so many waves of blues) (370 km) away. A key feature of the area is Hearst Castle, a hilltop mansion built for William Randolph Hearst in the early 20th century that is now a tourist attraction. Read, Somewhere Over the Rainbow … There’s a Wonderful World, my blog about my great-grandmother working at The Castle, tucked behind a staircase, away from all the golden opulence and godly inspired divinely blue pools. The area is also home to a large northern elephant seal rookery, known as the Piedras Blancas rookery. I better not confuse the two, my great grandmother was little but mighty. We’ll bark up another tree as we pay adieu at the piers of amazing places to behold and safely “swim” to another epic shore.
#22 – San Diego, said to have one of the best climates, and I can’t disagree. San Diego never disappoints! “Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, San Diego is frequently referred to as the “Birthplace of California”, as it was the first site visited and settled by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States.” (Source Wikipedia, Farmer’s Almanac, historians, ghosts, and the few times I’ve been “assigned” to explore.) SeaWorld, The San Diego Zoo, and the Gaslamp Quarter, all must-see’s among so many “other” things to do and “experience”. “San Diego announced plans to become the first U.S. city to install cyber-controlled street lighting, using an “intelligent” lighting system to control 3,000 LED streetlights,” and lighting our pathway on.
#21 – “Rising from 16 square-blocks in downtown San Diego, you’ll find the historic Gaslamp Quarter where Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers stand side by side, housing more than 100 of the city’s finest restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and retails shops. Not only is this area the epicenter of San Diego’s nightlife scene, but it is also rich with cultural offerings that include theatres, art galleries, symphony halls, concert venues and museums.” (Source sandiego.org, work-trips, haunted elevator rides, a taxidermized horse, named “Sunshine”, hauntedhouses.com, Ida Bailey, torrid history, hazy rumors, shady characters, “out West” ghosts, Room 309, and extra snippets) “The Horton Grand Hotel is a 4 story, 110 room, 24 suite Victorian-era hotel which came to being as a result of restoring two old historic hotels, The Grand Horton Hotel and The Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery Hotel, both which were originally built and open in 1886 in different locations in San Diego. Both were located in respectable areas, not the wild, decadent Stingaree (red-light) District, home to such disgraceful entertainment such as salons, gambling halls, opium dens and of course brothels”, and exactly where “she” dwells today! We better high tail it, rumblings of a raid have me skipping continental breakfast, gluten free bagel to go, please!
#20 – “Anaheim is the place to be for those who are looking for a thrilling adventure as it houses one of the best amusement parks in the world. The city is filled with excitement and thrill through its theme parks that would surely delight visitors.” “Anaheim boasts a reinvigorated downtown and vibrant nightlife, too, making this a vacation haven for everyone from families to foodies.” (Sources, Wikipedia, visitcalifornia.com, Abby’s Anaheimer Inn, NAMM, Disneyland, Splash Mountain, Birds of Paradise, Beiber drag-racing, Nile Rodgers and band, and pure magic.) Dreams that you dare to dream, do come true and magic is airborne through these parts! We’ll pick up Scooby for our next excursion.
#19 – “Welcome to the bright lights and big-city allure of California’s largest metropolis. Here, A-list celebrities really do walk the sidewalks, triple-shot macchiatos in one hand, cell phones in the other.” “Los Angeles is often billed the ‘Creative Capital of the World.’ The city is home to the well-known Hollywood neighborhoods, and boasts hundreds of performing arts venues, museums, and galleries. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth, catapulting it to become the second largest city in the US. There’s no shortage of things to do in La La Land (physically, spiritually, and metaphysically). Travelers should check out popular spots like the Hollywood Sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Griffith Observatory, and Venice Beach, to name a few. A quick jaunt outside the city, visitors can spend the day at popular destinations like Disneyland, Laguna Beach, and Malibu.” “Besides the glamour, the sunshine and the world-class tacos, there’s a lot to love about L.A.” (Source purewow.com) “Los Angeles is like a beauty parlor at the end of the universe.” I always recommend a ponytail for day trips, especially. Mouse ears really help!
#18 – “Today we come to the happy task of sending on her way the stateliest ship now in being. It has been the nation’s will that she should be completed, and today we can send her forth no longer a number on the books, but a ship with a name in the world, alive with beauty, energy and strength! May her life among great waters spread friendship among the nations!” (King George V on the Queen Mary launch) “On May 27, 1936, the Queen Mary departed from Southampton, England embarking on her maiden voyage. She boasted five dining areas and lounges, two cocktail bars and swimming pools, a grand ballroom, a squash court and even a small hospital. The Queen Mary had set a new benchmark in transatlantic travel, which the rich and famous considered as the only civilized way to travel. She quickly seized the hearts and imaginations of the public on both sides of the Atlantic, representing the spirit of an era known for its elegance, class and style. Since her retirement from the sea as an active liner in 1967, the Queen Mary has never been more popular as an iconic Southern California attraction, hotel, and venue for special events. The ship carried some 2.2 million passengers in peacetime and 810,000 military personnel in the Second World War, but in Long Beach, an estimated 50 million people have visited. The day the ship was launched in 1934, a well-known English psychic, Lady Mable Fortiscue-Harrison would predict, “The Queen Mary will know her greatest fame and popularity when she never sails another mile or carries another fare-paying passenger.” A compelling insight!” (Source queenmary.com, countless documentaries, Wikipedia, and an “in-person” tour guided by haunting souls) I can predict with my crystal ball and life-vest on, you’ll have an amazing time, here, there, or in the afterlife, everywhere!
#17 – “Nature lovers, extreme sports enthusiasts, family vacationers and retirees, can all enjoy the vast recreational opportunities this region has to offer.” (Source mtshastaca.gov) “Mount Shasta is considered by the native Modoc people to be a place of light, created by the spirit of the sky (who, as legend has it, settled at the summit) as a way to reach the afterlife.” “Some New Agers believe that Saint Germain and other adepts still haunt the mountain, especially in the region of Panther Meadow.” (Source occult-world.com, Lemurians, Pluto’s Cave, UFO’s, Bigfoot, Fairy Falls, and ET’s) “In the lore of the Shasta Indians, the terms for “ghost,” “soul,” and “life” are nearly synonymous.” Casey is not scared of any g-g-g-ghosts!
#16 – “The Biggest Little City in the World!” “Reno took a leap forward when the state of Nevada legalized open gambling on March 19, 1931, along with the passage of even more liberal divorce laws than places such as Hot Springs, Arkansas, offered. The new divorce laws, passed in 1927, allowed people to divorce each other after six weeks of residency, instead of six months. People wishing to divorce stayed in hotels, houses, and/or dude ranches, leaving once the divorce was finalized. The divorce business eventually died after about 1970, as the other states fell in line by passing their own laws easing the requirements for divorce, but gambling continued as a major Reno industry,” and is alive and well today, progressive, and bottomless service and buffets, 24 hours a day. If we’re really lucky, Elvis will give us away! I still get a kick out of Reno 911 and Rina’s lyrics, “Every time you see me, it’s like winning big in Reno” still ring true! We can snow board to our next great escape from here.
#15 – “Lake Tahoe, the clear, cobalt blue lake tucked into the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountain range, welcomes athletes, adventurers and casual travelers to its easygoing and pine-scented atmosphere. A long sought-after vacation destination, Lake Tahoe keeps everyone’s interests piqued and their vacations active throughout the year.” (Source Tahoe.com) “Explore Emerald Bay State Park; arguably the most famous attraction in Lake Tahoe,” while I sit by the dock, wasting time! Actually, I heard, Tahoe is the best for New Years and those slopes are legends in themselves. Go get your fresh pow-pow today, Olympians! “Light, dry, fluffy snow referred to normally as powder. You can eat this all day long and never get full.”
#14 – Let’s frog jump to Angel’s Camp! “Angels Camp is a real town!” I’ve been there, and its beauty will undoubtedly take you to another time. “Situated in the lush, rolling hillsides of California’s Gold Country, this picturesque Gold Rush town is best known for its Jumping Frog Jubilee, made famous by Mark Twain, who penned The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County after overhearing a story about the contest in the Angels Hotel Saloon.” (Source California.com) Now doesn’t that sound like a nice afternoon, sipping pink lemonade? We’ll promenade on, I’m not one for leaping lizards. “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” Thanks Doc!
#13 – “Ever dreamt of being transported to the land of giants? Calaveras Big Trees State Park can make your dream come true.” “Established in 1931, Calaveras Big Trees State Park preserves two groves of giant sequoias (the world’s largest trees) in the North and South Groves. The park is a mixed-conifer forest (a variety of trees living together). In addition to the giant trees, you will find the Stanislaus River, Beaver Creek, ancient volcanic formations, and natural meadows. Trails throughout the park allow you to discover the natural beauty that has awed visitors to the area since 1852.” (Source parks.ca.gov) “The king of all the conifers in the world, the noblest of the noble race.” John Muir, when writing about sequoia trees. “Dubbed the “Discovery Tree,” this giant sequoia was felled in order to take it on a tour around the world. Before long, the Discovery Tree became a worldwide sensation. Measuring 25 feet in diameter at its base, the sequoia was estimated to be 1,244 years old at the time of its felling. The giant stump left was turned into a dance floor, that I actually danced upon, and we’ll do-si-do onward. If you call that dancing?
#12 – “Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness in southern California. Come explore for yourself.” “The park is one of California’s most beautiful (and less-visited) natural treasures, complete with not only fascinating plants and animals, but vast desert oases, and a striking rock-strewn landscape. It’s an excellent place to hike, climb rocks, take photographs, or pitch a tent and sleep underneath a starry sky free of light pollution.” (Source tripsavvy.com, ancient aliens, U2, and yours truly) “Perhaps the primary draw to Joshua Tree National Park is tree-hunting. However, the Joshua “trees” you see here during your visit actually are not trees at all. Surprise, instead, they’re members of the lily family, with the scientific name yucca brevifolia. The tallest trees grow 40 feet high (at the rate of about half an inch per year), and during a wet spring, sprout clusters of whitish-green flowers, making them an extraordinary sight.” “Summertime is scorching hot in Joshua Tree National Park with highs above 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). It’s best to visit in the spring and fall when highs run about 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) and lows are around 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).” Stay on the trails, water-up, and leave no trace. Looking for a camel, or a horse with no name!
#11 – Twentynine Palms, as our fate would have it, isn’t just an awesome song by Robert Plant, but is a city in San Bernardino County, California. Twentynine Palms serves as one of the entry points to Joshua Tree National Park.” “In deserts around the world, the presence of water, that rarest of desert commodities, allows life to flourish and provides an oasis for natural and human activity. The historic Oasis of Mara in Twentynine Palms is a cornerstone of the Joshua Tree National Park story and has been a source of life-giving water for more than 9,000 years.” What a sublime way to spend an afternoon, or throw a desert California party, or when forever comes calling. Let’s continue four wheeling through, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”!
#10 – “As the hottest, driest and lowest national park, Death Valley is a land of extremes. More than just a scorching desert, Death Valley offers park visitors a striking contrast of landscapes to explore; from the snow that frosts the park’s towering peaks to the lush wildflower meadows and small oases that provide a reprieve from the heat to seemingly endless desert plains. At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin is a surreal landscape that tricks the senses. What many visitors mistake for snow covering the ground is actually a thick layer of salt on the valley floor. Contrary to its name, Death Valley comes alive with color and life in the spring. While the park is famous for its rare and spectacular wildflower displays, flowers are never totally absent in the off years. When conditions are right, the hills and valleys explode into a carpet of gold, purple, pink or white flowers. There are few other places on earth where the beautiful songs of nature call so loudly to visitors. Jump in your car and wind through Artists Drive, an unbelievable area of multicolored, eroded hills. Since your vehicle can’t cruise as fast as the Millenium Falcon, take your time to enjoy the beautiful scenery and spot locations featured in the movie Star Wars: A New Hope. Other movies and TV shows filmed at Death Valley include Spartacus, The Twilight Zone and Tarzan.” Since we’re here and on the subject, let’s check out a crater the size of a ginormous Easter basket!
#9 – “Ubehebe Crater is a large volcanic crater 600 feet deep and half a mile across. We often hear mistakenly that “Ubehebe” means “big basket,” but the Paiute name Ubehebe was first applied to the 5,678 ft. Ubehebe Peak, 24 miles southwest of the crater. How the name Ubehebe became associated with the crater is not known. How did these craters originate? They are known as Maar volcanoes, created by steam and gas explosions when hot magma rising up from the depths reached ground water. The intense heat flashed the water into steam which expanded until the pressure was released as a tremendous explosion. The western cluster of maar volcanoes was the first to form, then the southern cluster, followed by Ubehebe (the largest of them all) possibly as recently as 2,100 years ago. The walk around the rim of Ubehebe Crater is about 1½ mile round-trip. This route leads past several smaller craters, including Little Hebe.” (Source nps.gov) We’ll hail a UFO, they’re faster than any cab any day.
#8 – Feel like chasing waterfalls, with me? “One of the most spectacular waterfalls in California (if not the continent) (I can hear you arguing from there, just see for yourself, and how can one really compare TLC, a rainbow, a cascade, or a waterfall?) this 129-foot-tall, fern-draped cascade seems to come out of nowhere. Located 60 miles northeast of Redding (in an area of the Shasta Cascade region) that from a distance looks like a rumpled collection of weathered cinder cones and broad plains under a cloud-free sky; Burney Falls is one of California’s biggest surprises. It’s no wonder 26th President Teddy Roosevelt dubbed it “the eighth wonder of the world”.” (Source visitcalifornia.com or take your husbands stepfather along for a fishing trip with enormous liquid magic.) “Follow a short path to the main overlook in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. You’ll have to raise your voices to talk (or be happy in silence), the broad wall of water faces you head on, booming over a mossy ledge, splashing down the fern-covered face, tossing gushers and shards of rainbows left and right, finally plunging so hard and fast into a clear pool that you can see flumes of air bubbles reaching deep below the surface. The main falls originate at the top of the cliff, but icy gallons of snowmelt also gush from the sieve-like volcanic rock face. Continue down the path to the pool, where you are likely to look but only briefly touch: the water never goes much above 42 degrees. Fishermen don’t seem to mind the chill; the big pool at the base, and Burney Creek above and below the cascade, are popular for catch-and-release fly-fishing.” This is a good place to teach your children the importance of catching and releasing fish. Scooby, put that back!
#7 – “First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more. Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. People have long traveled to Yosemite for recreation. The stunning views that visitors enjoy today are much the same as those that helped inspire the creation of the national parks over a century ago. How we experience the park, however, has changed greatly within those years. (Source nps.gov) Few places on earth display the internal complexity of a batholith better than El Capitan. Even though Yosemite Valley has received considerable attention because of its geologic fame and dominant place in our cultural geography, the 3,000-foot-tall southeast face of El Capitan remained unmapped until recently. Easily the most recognizable landmark in all of Yosemite, Half Dome is a granite dome formation at the eastern end of the Yosemite Valley. Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers.” Haven’t done the dome, myself, but know of a few such people, Mark S Allen, and three cousins, not at the same time. The bears love it there, and they make Scooby nervous, so we’ll hike onward and back to our cabins. Hopefully “no-one” is sleeping in my bed!
#6 – “Out of one beautiful form to another; Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Jagged peaks tell the story of its eruptive past while hot water continues to shape the land. It takes approximately two months to clear snow from the 30-mile park highway. (Source nps.gov, Wikipedia,) “Lassen Peak, commonly referred to as Mount Lassen, is the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range of the Western United States. Located in the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California, it is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, which stretches from southwestern British Columbia to Northern California. Lassen Peak reaches an elevation of 10,457 ft (3,187 m), standing above the northern Sacramento Valley. It supports many floras and fauna among its diverse habitats, which are subject to frequent snowfall and reach high elevations. Lassen Volcanic National Park, which encompasses an area of 106,372 acres (430.47 km2), was created to preserve the areas affected by the eruption, for future observation and study, to protect the nearby volcanic features, and to keep away anyone from settling too close to the volcano. The park, along with the nearby Lassen National Forest and Lassen Peak, have become popular destinations for recreational activities, including climbing, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and backcountry skiing. Lassen Peak is dormant, meaning the volcano is merely inactive, and it has a functioning magma chamber under the ground still capable of eruptions. Thus, it poses a threat to the nearby area through lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars (volcanically induced mudslides, landslides, and debris flows), ash, avalanches, and floods. To monitor this threat, Lassen Peak and the surrounding vicinity are closely observed with sensors by the California Volcano Observatory.” “Oh, take my love, take it down, climb a mountain and turn around, and if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills, well, the landslide will bring you down.” Let’s take this mac of a fleet with us and journey westward for a safer retreat.
#5 – Up for a rootin’ shootin’ spookin’ good time? “The Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in San Jose, California, that was once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearms magnate William Wirt Winchester. The Winchester Mystery House is a beautiful but bizarre mansion, a 160-room Victorian, a marvel in a spooky, unsettling more ways than one, otherworldly experience kind of way. “Sarah Winchester would never confirm that she was building a haunted house. However, stories and rumors swirled throughout San Jose. The contractors who worked on the house reported Winchester having daily seances with local mediums, in an effort to reach “good spirits”.” Through a medium, Sarah’s deceased husband, parlayed a forewarning due to “the gun that one the west”; “He warned that vengeful ghosts would seek her out.” “In order to protect herself, William said that Sarah must “build a home for herself and for the spirits who have fallen from this terrible weapon.” One catch, or caveat left to express, mention, or speak of, “Stop and you will die.” “Some, say the labyrinth layout was meant to confuse the ghosts, allowing Sarah some peace and a means to escape “them”. She was the sole architect of this extraordinary home, and no master building plan has ever been uncovered. (I don’t believe one was ever made!) So, Sarah may be the only person who ever truly knew all of its secrets.” One could lose their bearings or get completely turned around. Did I get us lost again? (Source mentalfloss.com, nps.gov, Wikipedia, and an awesome visit to try and commune with the “ghosts”) We’ll bid a grateful adieu, and with her favorite Shakespeare adage; we’re not going “gentle into that goodnight, rage, rage against the dying of the light”. I’m mostly being facetious, and very much enjoyed our tour. Tiny steps, but I’ve got tiny feet. You might want to watch where you step. Sadly, Casey and I tried to “contact” Sarah, but her admin, said “she couldn’t be reached”, booked through the summer. We’ll “call-back” later.
#4 – “On the shores of its namesake lake, the historic Gold Country city of Folsom is both a haven for outdoor recreation and a place of pilgrimage for music fans. Easily accessible from town, the 19,500-acre Folsom Lake State Recreation Area in the Sierra Nevada foothills offers endless biking, hiking, fishing, and boating experiences. The recreation area has 75 miles of shoreline, with campgrounds and picnic areas along the water, and 95 miles of trails, including the Darrington Trail, a popular mountain biking route.” I double dog dare you to take, Scooby, wait! “For a longer outing, you can ride the American River Bike Trail (also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail) for 32 miles from the lake all the way to Old Sacramento. Folsom was founded in 1849 and there’s a local saying that this is “the place where the West came and stayed.” That’s especially true in downtown’s Folsom Historic District, where you’ll learn about the area’s gold mining and Native American past at the Folsom History Museum. Many music fans first became aware of Folsom after hearing Cash’s 1956 classic, Folsom Prison Blues. (Cash also played a pair of legendary 1968 concerts for the inmates at the still-operational penal complex.) On the prison grounds, open to visitors, the Folsom Prison Museum commemorates Cash’s legacy and preserves artifacts from the notorious penitentiary. Folsom also honors the “Man in Black” along the nearly three-mile Johnny Cash Trail. Bicyclists and walkers cross a pair of bridges (including one inspired by the prison’s Gothic architecture) as they follow this scenic pathway that runs from the historic district and connects into Folsom’s extensive trail network.” Speaking of trails and Cash’s words; “You’re so heavenly minded, you’re no earthly good,” oh wait, that’s me! My great grandfathers of past poured the sidewalks, and I hope you happily skip upon and over them, wherever you quest.
#3 – “Sacramento is America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital and the only star on the map of California. The city is buzzing with things to taste, see, and savor.” Home to Good Day Sacramento, my favorite morning show, since 1995, my grandmother, and my entire existence. Sacramento is the perfect place to study, and I haven’t stopped. The city of tree’s has so much beauty, history, and folklore to explore that I haven’t even scratched the surface. Not to be morbid, but Sacramento has the most heavenly cemeteries. I could and probably will spend eternity under the tree’s, blanketed under the infinite and infamous stars. “Adorned with beautiful statues, dramatic markers, and lush gardens, the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is an outdoor museum recording California history from the Gold Rush era through today.”(Source visitsacramento.com, my birthplace, Capitol Towers, historicoldcitycememtery.org, and years of researching and still developing) “More than 230 days of sunshine each year make outdoor activities a must,” and we’re almost finished with our countdown of divinely inspired locations.
#2 – “The Foresthill Bridge, also referred to as the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge or the Auburn Bridge, is a road bridge crossing over the North Fork American River in Placer County and the Sierra Nevada foothills, in eastern California. It is the highest bridge by deck height in California, the fourth highest in the United States, and among the seventy highest in the world at 730 feet (220 m) above the river. The bridge can be seen in the beginning of the 2002 film XXX in which Vin Diesel’s character Xander Cage is seen driving a stolen red Chevrolet Corvette off it, then jumping from the car mid-flight and parachuting to his accomplices at the bottom of the American River Canyon. “The bridge took three years to construct and cost thirteen million dollars. A seismic retrofit in 2011 cost seventy-four million dollars.” (Source Wikipedia, Hollywood blockbusters, Prince’s little red corvette, and many excursions sightseeing, camping, and fishing) Go experience that rush of adrenaline, just beware the lady of the lake, she’s quiet, demur, and can vanquish wizards upon sight. Invisible behind water and a glass castle (Summer getaway castle, not listed, and definitely not an air bnb), she can see you, and you’ll never see her coming. Clean up, be respectful, abide the catch and release laws, and blessed you will remain through, to tell the tale of an ethereal experience, with an otherworldly view.
#1 – All clear for landing, and we’ve reached our destination, home, at last! Home is where the heart is! “Your home will always be the place for which you feel the deepest affection, no matter where you are.” “The phrase means that no matter who you are with or where you are in the world, your family and home always have the deepest affection and emotional pull. It is the place where you have a foundation of love, warmth, and happy memories. It might not always be the building itself but being near your loved ones.” (Source theidioms.com) California is a huge melting pot, and my pot of gold. The faces, the places, and the ever-unfolding stories to come, keep me planted and blooming for eons more. I believe “home” is an attitude, or a belief, a state of mind, that anywhere you are, you can create. My first home is this planet, that I know of, and I’m already packed and ready to come visit yours. Maybe teleportation, much cheaper, and better for my budget.
Thank you for “soaring” the ether with me, “Casey”, and Scooby (and “others”) this wonderful, earthy, musical, stealthy journey. Regarding the King of Radio himself, “Immortalized in the Radio Hall of Fame, Casey has his own star on Hollywood Blvd, and received two Lifetime Achievement Awards, and the first ever Radio Icon award at the Radio Music Awards.” I pray you visit these extraordinary places and witness firsthand God’s blessings through Earth’s beauty and brilliance. Scooby slept most of the way, but ever-so attentive when the snacks are on display. Mi casa, su casa; pack up your nostalgia, sweet memories, surfer tunes, sand dollars, and “light” carry-ons, for more enticing stories to come. Godspeed!
One thought on “An Ode To Casey Kasem’s Top 40”
Fantastic photos and lovely write!
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