I was recently out of California for a few weeks and despite my incredible homesickness I was charmed by the concept of taking a ferry to and fro the island that I was visiting on and the city where I went to do my business and I walked away from thinking now that’s the way that I would like to live.
Where in California can I take a ferry like that ? Catalina Island is one of those opportunities. http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/
catalina-2 cataina-1
Here is a great video all about this place. Makes me want to go visit again. Its been many years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzTuZOtI0Fg
Many people migrate to this fine part of the world. They would agree I think that weather conditions are optimal year round. Not enough rain if anything. We can picnic on the beach in December. I do love the weather in Southern California. Life is so much easier with the stressors that come with keeping warm in extreme cold. And for me it means my dogs can romp year round outside in the yard.
So I’m walking around my yard in Ojai California utterly impressed with my own environment and the beauty of the sunshine and the green this all around me and the smell of moisture and plant life in the air. This is Southern California. The climate is more you around moderate with you extremes. Ojai is known for its crops of Sunkist oranges and the avocados because it rarely freezes here so the plans are pretty much year round safe. It has that happened on one occasion in the last 12 years that we had a freeze and all the avocado orchards were devastated for the next 2 1/2 years but that is absolutely not the norm.
If wine tasting is your thing we have here several wine tasting facilities. I E feel and hear the links to local wine tasting places. We also have all of tasting facilities such as OJAI OLIVE OIL up Ladera Canyon, around the corner from where I live. http://www.ojaioliveoil.com/
Ojai is right next-door to Ventura, connected by land. Ventura sits 13 miles towards the coast line and you can walk to the beach from Old Main St., Ventura. If you enjoy food shopping then Ventura’s old town is the place to be. Ventura, CA old downtown is probably the best place I have ever gone thrift shopping. Here are my 3 favorites.


Highway 101 is the coast route that runs Northern California to Southern California all the way to the northern tip of the state. If you take it south in one hour from Ventura you will come into the city limits of Los Angeles. You can EXIT LAS POSAS and go to Highway 1 along the ocean or stay on 101 South to the Valley side of Los Angeles. if you choose to break over to the Pacific coast highway that runs along the beach there you can drive to Malibu. Malibu is 25 miles long of a beautiful water front town.  The Malibu pier hosts some of my favorite restaurants;
The MALIBU FARM is my all time favorite.

Also with the new change in legislation with cannabis becoming now legal in the state one of the most prominent dispensaries is located in Malibu California it’s called 99 high tide http://99hightide.com/ and is a cross between dispensary and interior design museum facility. Truly a joy to visit and I’ll something that more people can do due to the new legislation.

If you proceed south down the coast you will eventually arrive in Santa Monica California.  Just at the end of Pacific Coast Highway moments before entering into the Santa Monica city limit you can see the original J Paul Getty museum, now called the Getty Villa on your left. http://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/. It’s not the new one and only maybe 1/10 the size but worthy of your time to go out of your way to stop for an hour or so before proceeding to Santa Monica. There is a year round carnival at the Santa Monica pier and the third street promenade https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRZi3R6X1JE

is a fun outdoor shopping experience much like a mall but much more quaint with theater musicians and live talent performing all the time on the street. 

After arriving in Santa Monica and visiting the third street promenade and the year round carousel and a view over the end of the pier one could easily venture onto Venice where there’s a lively boardwalk all day long along the sandy beach with artsy types and restaurants and unusual characters you won’t see anywhere else all fully entertaining. Venture inland to the Wilshire district of Los Angeles where you can find some of the most fantastic museums in the world.



Proceed on Wilshire Boulevard completely east until you arrive in downtown LA. You might notice signage written with Asian script and we could consider visiting a Korean bathhouse.

That can be a fun time activity but it’s boys only and girls only so bring a friend. Https://goo.gl/13Enjs Very much a fun mother and daughter afternoon item that I will never forget at the Korean bathhouse. My daughter took me there for mothers day. We had whole body treatments like a facial but everywhere. It was pure and clean and peaceful.

In downtown LA there is the music center and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as well as modern museum of art and other links to be listed here. http://www.musiccenter.org/


You can circle around going north west again on the 101 freeway and stop off at Universal Studios. And somewhere out there in the mitts near Anaheim of course is Disneyland.

Being that I don’t live in Los Angeles anymore there are a few great stores that I always look forward to revisiting them and one is in Burbank and it’s called IKEA. If you know it or don’t there’s always a fun feeling of just looking and walking through for unique home goods made in Europe very affordably and some of the most fun European dishes in the restaurant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BXRGzjo1_Q


Proceed north on 101 and merged into one 70 and then interstate five and as you approach Santa Clarita Magic Mountain is always a favorite stop off if you have children and like fast rides. I have to hold onto my stomach here but have the world doesn’t agree with me and it’s famous for the best roller coasters in the world.



Driving North to Mendicino County Northern California

You can now say that you are leaving Southern California as you approach the grapevine of interstate five. I often marvel at the superiority of the building and ship of highways the twist and turn in a steep incline and decline up the mountain down the mountain in a place where there once was no road. It is the Thruway towards the middle part of the state. And also a very scenic drive.

People that come to California from back East are often taken back at the length of the state. Did you know that you can drive nonstop for more than 20 hours and still never cross state border. Approximately 6 1/2 hours North of Los Angeles you will find the state capital of Sacramento. If you look on a map at interstate 80 you can look to the west and you can catch their San Francisco. The cities are very different San Francisco probably more spectacular and it’s big city feel like a little miniature of New York City’s Manhattan. There’s lots of theater there and a variance of atmospheres from coastal weather at baker beach to Midsummer sunshine along the Embarcadero.  The Embarcadero is not to be missed if you’re stopping in San Francisco park your car and spend a couple hours here again having an opportunity to see street artists and art galleries and some of the best fresh fish fast food off of wonderful smelling food carts from anywhere in the world.

Traveling north on 101 from San Francisco you can enjoy the scenery of redwood forests  in Mendocino County. I’ve traveled lots of places but rarely felt the coziness of Mendocino itself. Truly a tiny paradise with hotels priced more reasonably than other coastal communities I’ve seen like this.


From here a little bit north and then to the East. You Can drive around Clearlake CA with it’s charming community set around the edges of the lake.


Eventually stumble back up come up on interstate five and head north to Chico. Chico is an adorable university town loaded with charm and upon visiting there for the first time asking myself what it would be like to live here it feels so innocent so earthy and yet another sophistication to find restaurants with gourmet salads



Loopback around to interstate five and head north and find Redding California. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEN6t9uFRog

One of the few towns were walking trails seem to have been a designer focal point of the city Council. The Sacramento River runs through this charming little city of population less than 80,000 but with the feel of a small town. You can walk along the Sacramento River for 10 miles north to south on paved trails with vegetation that smells like a small paradise. And all of my travels and all the places I’ve lived no we’re up I seen anything that comes close to this kind of walking trails by design that encourage a healthy lifestyle because who wouldn’t want to walk frequently and this kind of an environment with drinks in hand and great conversation with a friend.

Redding’s Civic Auditorium touts concerts with venues like the Doobie Brothers as well as local dance recital’s from dance schools that are easily as sophisticated as anything you see in a city like Los Angeles or New York City yet surprisingly upscale and a SOLD OUT SHOW in this small town.



North of Redding CA you will find Mount Shasta with its ski slopes and charm of a ski town village with art galleries and Indian culture sprinkled like a fairy dust throughout the town again truly charming place and one to go out of your way to see. As a kid growing up in Redding this was where we learned to ski. It is intimate like the town itself and far enough away that there is no such thing as waiting for the lift. A lovely romantic day for a couple or a family. A deal of the century costing less than $100 for a small family. 

Now that we’ve almost reached the top of the state it’s fun to wind down and on the way cross a state border and discover the Grand Canyon something I missed my whole life that matches no other visual experience I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world. It’s only about seven hours from Los Angeles and takes your breath away. If you aren’t sure you believe in a higher power take a look at the Grand Canyon and then ask yourself again how it is possible. This will be my parting highlight in this article as I reminisce about my trip to the Grand Canyon with my cousin Eric who came to California for the second time and I did a road trip with him similar to many of these points I’ve here in described but remembering the most of everything the Grand Canyon. I was truly mesmerized and shocked and that no one had ever emphasized with me this natural beauty to be seen right here in this country. I’ve traveled overseas and to India and believe that I’ve seen many things and yet what feels like nearly in my backyard maybe six hours from Los Angeles sits the Grand Canyon . It was worth having to sleep at night in the back of my SUV with my 200 pound cousin because not only were all the hotels booked but campgrounds as well. We camped in our car in a McDonald’s parking lot just outside the entrance to the park but I tell you I wouldn’t of missed it for the world. Heads up make a plan don’t make my mistake and book a hotel or campground before venturing into the park. It was kind of cold that night.

Our next Travel Blog will talk more about the state of Arizona. Stay tuned…………………..