2018 Travel Wish List
January, 2018 - Issue #160
courtesy of shutterstock
courtesy of shutterstock

"So what will be on your list? Something new? Something familiar? Somewhere near? Somewhere far? For me, it's ALL OF THE ABOVE."
With a new year comes a new calendar - and the opportunity to fill that calendar with travel plans. Don't call them resolutions. Those just lead to guilt when they're not followed. Instead, think of these as a travel wish list - possibilities for fun in the year ahead.

So what will be on your list? Something new? Something familiar? Somewhere near? Somewhere far? For me, it's all of the above.

We have an ambitious list for "something new." Earlier this year we committed ourselves to visiting LA's 10 best ice cream shops as ranked by TripAdvisor. We started with Milk Silverlake. Name your treat and Milk's got it: gourmet soda floats, gooey sundaes, or ice cream sandwiches made with your choice of cookies. With one down and nine to go, 2018 looks like a sweet year indeed.

When it comes to something familiar, Jalama Beach is definitely on our list. It's been a few years since we've camped at this out-of-the-way gem on a forgotten stretch of coastline between Lompoc and Santa Barbara. Bordered by Vandenberg Air Force Base and private ranch land, Jalama offers the rare opportunity to explore miles of California beaches untouched by development. It's hard to reach, but worth the effort. And the camp store grills legendary burgers that make the drive even more rewarding.

As far as somewhere near, two things make the list: CicLAvia and the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Held several times throughout the year in different L.A. locales, CicLAvia closes down a miles-long stretch of roadway to cars, allowing visitors to explore neighborhoods via biking, walking, blading or any other non-motorized mode of transport for the afternoon.

Although I exhibit mild pack-rat tendencies, I've somehow never visited the Rose Bowl Flea Market. That needs to change in 2018. Held the second Sunday of each month (rain or shine), the market bills itself as "the shopping place of the stars" with more than 2,500 participating vendors. Whether you go for the shopping or the people watching, there's undoubtedly much to see.

Another possibility for somewhere near is a short Mexican cruise. Again, it's one of those things that's right here in our backyard (Set sail from Long Beach!) that I've somehow missed. It's certainly not the cost that's keeping me away. Prices start at less than $200 per person, making it among the most affordable get-aways anywhere. And, with multiple cruise lines offering a variety of itineraries and departures, it's also convenient.

For somewhere far, we put two of Utah's most well-known national parks on our list. We've driven by Bryce and Zion numerous times on our way to other destinations. And every time we do, we say, "You know, we really need to check out these parks." So for spring break, we're planning several days of camping, hiking and exploring the canyons and trails of these desert destinations. and

Another far-away stop on our list has been bypassed too many times - Manzanar National Historic Site. Located outside Independence on Highway 395, we pass Manzanar on our way to Mammoth or other Sierra destinations. It's time we stopped and considered the lessons this painful historic reminder has to teach us. Manzanar was one of 10 internment camps that held 110,000 Japanese-Americans whom the government ordered into confinement during World War II. With a visitor center, reconstructed barracks and the remnants of ponds, gardens and orchards to see on a 3.2-mile self-guided driving tour, there is more than enough to make this a worthwhile stop for exploration and reflection.
So where will 2018 take you? That's up to you. Make your list, consult your calendar and see what happens next!
Eric Harnish lives in Castaic when he's not traveling.
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