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EAT, DRINK & PLAY   -   GET OUT OF TOWN
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We lingered on our hotel balcony in Santa Barbara long after the sun dipped below the distant hills. The orange sky shifted to purple as fading daylight made way for emerging stars.
Jumping into a mountain lake is one of the most under-appreciated joys of summer.
Even with reservations, confirmations, itineraries and insurance, travel doesn't always go as planned. Certain things are beyond our control. Like traffic, weather or global pandemics.
As we emerge from the coronavirus shut-down, the mood is decidedly undecided as we look ahead to the months when most of us plan to get out of town.
We can't get out of town right now. But getting out of the house is more important than ever. After days of Zoom meetings and online learning, we need the weekends to trade screen time for sunshine and ward off that feeling of impending claustrophobia.
How do you get teenagers to put down their phones? Big questions sometimes require big answers. Especially now, following weeks of school closures and social distancing.
So try this answer on for size: the world's largest trees. You'll find them in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. And on a short weekend visit before the coronavirus lockdown, I found them powerful enough to overcome the pull of the phone.
The panoramic perspective of Southern California's coastline changed by the minute as the Catalina Express carried us closer to Avalon. First the harbor cranes, then the high rises and finally the Palos Verdes peninsula all faded from view behind the ferry's churning wake.
A Visit to a Goat Dairy Farm on the Central Coast
Whether it is your New Year's resolution to work out more, get outside more, or get out of town, this one is for you. It checks all the boxes, and adds in a little history, too.
There's only one watersport in which I can claim basic competence and therefore enjoyment. It's stand-up paddle boarding.
A stark, desolate beauty draws visitors to the Owens Valley. Its rugged isolation and proximity to the soaring granite peaks of the Eastern Sierra promise solitude hard to find elsewhere in California.
A Spectacular Find in our own Backyard
I took what might have sounded like a wishful comment from my wife as a request. "I want to go camping at Jalama," April said in passing at some point last winter.
Given California's size, it seems there are always more roads that lead to undiscovered corners of the state.
Until recently, the western segment of State Route 178 was one of them for me. If it sounds familiar, it's that left turn off State Route 14, past Red Rock on the way to Mammoth, that seemingly leads to nowhere.
When considering weekend get-away destinations, Santa Barbara is tough to beat. Lively bars. Intriguing restaurants. Abundant shopping. Chic hotels. All accented with that worry-free weather. What's not to love, right?
The grounds are bursting with luscious blooms; rich, glorious green is everywhere the eye can see; and the warming sun is balanced by cool marine breezes. It's spring at The Saticoy Club - and it is glorious.
When it comes to hiking, I'm usually reluctant to leave the Santa Clarita Valley. Why drive somewhere else when you can hit any one of dozens of trails right here in our own backyard?
There's one question that inspires fear in every significant other. OK, two questions, actually.
Say "Getty" these days and everyone assumes you're talking about the Getty Center museum complex atop the Sepulveda Pass that affords commanding views of the Westside all the way to the ocean.
Three thousand, one hundred feet. Seventy miles. Seven pitchers. Six guys. Three days. One question.
That's a rough accounting of the recent expedition undertaken to Mammoth by a group of mountain-biking friends - James, Mike, Jason, Todd, Tony and me.
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