Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 20 Travel Destinations for 2012

1. Anza Borrego Desert:  Our new year most always begins here. This is our happy place, our attitude adjustment, our return on investment. Overwhelmingly beautiful, yet fierce and unforgiving; it suits our fancy.  Boondock favorite...

2. Ajo, AZ:  We've buzzed through Ajo many times on our way to other destinations, but enough friends and bloggers convinced us it was a destination! We stayed a month, boondocking, off-roading, photographing, and enjoying the great little town.


3. Pismo Beach, CA:  The State Beach Park has large, grassy sites with no hookups.  Paths lead to huge sandy dunes with blooming ice plant, and groves of gnarly Eucalyptus trees housing seasonal migrating Monarch butterflies.


4. San Francisco:  We never tire of this beautiful City by the Bay, though there are several; New Orleans, Vancouver, and Seattle, to name a few. But this is the only one with...The Golden Gate Bridge!


5. Bridgeport, CA:  A plan had been percolating and Highway 395, in the Eastern Sierras, took shape.  Thus we discovered Bodie, a genuine ghost mining gold town near Bridgeport... 

6. Mono Lake:  Continuing on 395, Mono Lake became a fascinating photo challenge.  We would depart our June Lake home base for early morning and late afternoon shootings of tufa towers, and calcium carbonate spires and knobs.  The lake is 2 1/2 times as salty as the ocean...


7. Bishop, CA:  Bakeries and bristlecone pines awaited us about 50 miles south.  The world famous Shats Bakery would become a regular stop on our daily outings to commune with the bristlecone pine forest, ancient sentinels over 4000 years old....


8. Lone Pine, CA:  The last stop on our 395 adventure but certainly not the least!  It is the gateway to Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 49 states, sweeping upwards of 2 vertical miles from this high desert location.  Nearby, the Alabama Hills presented an enchanted, convoluted vision of keyhole canyons and steep slopes of shattered granite boulders...


9. Port Townsend, WA:  A slice of pure heaven; friends, views, even the weather cooperated though August is the premier time to visit this favorite Northwest location.  We have waterfront parking at the Point Hudson Marina.  A Victorian Seaport and Arts Community...


10. Arches National Park:  Our arrival in Moab was a bit overwhelming; the crowds, the uncertainty of our stay. And we have a schedule which precludes our usual ability to be spontaneous, in an effort to re-visit many of the National Parks in Southern Utah.  Though we did prevail....


11. Canyonlands National Park:  The northern part of Canyonlands is known as The Island in the Sky.  A scenic drive follows the rim of this sheer-walled mesa with pull-outs where you get amazing views of the surrounding country virtually 1000' straight down, including canyons that have been carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers... 


12. Bluff, UT:  Goosenecks, Gods, and Petroglyphs were all in a day's drive from our fabulous boondocking site at Sand Island BLM Campground.  We had never heard of, much less seen the phenomenon awaiting us at Goosenecks State Park or the wonders of The Valley of the Gods, a miniature version of Monument Valley... 


13. Capitol Reef National Park:  Arriving at Capitol Reef was like finding an oasis in the midst of colorful red cliffs, massive domes, soaring spires, and twisting canyons.  Named Capitol for the white domes of Navajo sandstone, and Reef, the local word referring to any barrier to travel, describing the rugged upthrust known as the Waterpocket Fold.


14. Snow Canyon State Park:  Just when I think we topped the charts of landscape beauty, we drive into Snow Canyon, and there is a jaw-dropping moment of complete sensory overload.  Scenic is an understatement for this park tucked amid lava flows and soaring sandstone cliffs, petrified sand dunes, and volcanic cones; a strikingly colorful and fragile desert environment... 


15. Zion National Park:  An easy day's drive from our St. George location for the Huntsman World Senior Games.  Zion...A sanctuary, a refuge; a sacred place considered perfect of ideal!  Zion National Park is all of that and more.  Everything takes life from the Virgin River's scarce desert waters.  Water flows and solid rock melts into cliffs and towers... 



16. Pagosa Springs, CO:  We arrived in Pagosa Springs, east of Durango, on a crisp, sunny fall day mid-October.  This was to be our birthday celebration so for 3 glorious days spent at the Healing Waters Resort and Spa we sunned and soaked and enjoyed great dinners out.  The fall colors were worth the drive alone...


17. San Juan Islands:  Anacortes, WA is homeport to the San Juan Islands and conveniently situated half way between Seattle and Vancouver, BC.  The Washington State Ferries are at our beck and call for those day trips to the San Juan Islands and Victoria on Vancouver Island...


18. Big Sur Coast:  Touted as one of the world's top driving tours according to National Geographic, though doing it in a motorhome takes on a whole new perspective!  This rugged and picturesque narrow two-lane road twists and turns, suspended precariously over deep chasms, held in place by viaducts, and threatened by landslides...


19. Petaluma, CA:  During spring and late fall our migration pattern brings us into home territory where Petaluma becomes our home base. This lovely historic town with its old Victorian architecture offers up great restaurants, cheese factories, sustainable farms, with the Napa Valley wine country just a short drive away.  And we have family....


20. Half Moon Bay:  The Coastside area is home to commercial fishing, pumpkins, flowers farms and giant waves known as Mavericks.  Just 30 miles south of San Francisco on narrow, windy Highway 1, this sleepy coastal town was "discovered" during the Silicon Valley tech explosion.  This is home territory for yours truly...  








Post a Comment