Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Central California

Big Basin Redwoods State Park (June 22, 2012) in Boulder Creek (just southwest of San Jose up in the Santa Cruz Mountains ) California is the oldest Of CA State Parks est. in 1902. I remember it well from the many trips I took there when I was a child with my family, some more than 50 years ago.  Time flies! I was very pleased to see the same level of enjoyment in my grandchildren that I had as a child. Their Jr. Ranger program is excellent too. They have many fine campsites, hot showers and flush toilets. This is especially good after our two previous campsites didn’t have either one.

Manresa State Beach (June 23-24, 2012) in La Selva Beach (just south of the Santa Cruz area), has a very nice large sandy beach with good access. The Jr. Ranger Program is excellent. The only thing you should be a where of is that when they say you park your car and walk in, that means you carry everything in and out, some site are quit a hike in. But if you are up for it, it’s great and has outstanding photo opportunities as well. 


Natural Bridges State Park has been one of my favorite ever since I was very young. It is just a short drive north of our Manresa State Park Campground. It has a very informative visitor center, the tide pools were always my main attraction and if you time it right you can carefully examine this life at a negative tide. I’m glade to report that my grandkids love it too. You can get more information at  


The Mystery Spot has been around since 1940. This strange place has stumped millions with its gravitation wired effects and the fact that the laws of physics do not apply. I encourage you to try it for yourself but be sure to bring your own ball, level, plum-bob, and bottle of water to try these things for yourself; you will be unexpectedly surprised and will talk about it for many years to come. Everyone enjoyed it. If you can get Nick as your tour guide he was an extra bonus this time around. You can check it out at  

Giant Artichoke Fruit Stand 11221 Merrit St, Castroville CA, 95012 Jose Rico Owner, (he has a great coffee stand next door) it is a must for anyone traveling through the Santa Cruz and Monterey areas of California. The people are very pleasant; food is outstanding and very affordable. I really recommend trying the French Fried Artichokes and with ranch dressing out-of-this-world. I even stopped the car, turned around and went back for more. When you stop by please say HI for me.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (June 25-27, 2012) south of Monterey is a nice change from our other camping sites right on the beaches, we are warmer, drier and I don’t have to hear to the constant running water sound of the ocean (LOL).

Andrew Molera State Park (day use only) just five miles north of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. I rate it at a 3 in the scale of 1-10 because of its $10 parking fee then you hike over a mile down a hot dusty trail; once at the beach you will find it small, rocky, and the winds blow the sand pelting your face and legs. It doesn’t have very good photography shots either. I would find another spot.

Pt. Sur State Historic Park this lighthouse is just five miles north of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park campground and was well worth the $10 per person price. The tour was three hours and a bit of a walk about. The view, photo opportunities and information was superb. I recommend it highly and for more information you can reach them through or

Now we are on our way to Kings Canyon National Park our next camping stop. Driving south on Hwy 1 from Big Sur was a very pleasant drive, not to steep or windy, with many good photo opportunities; but 60 plus miles to a gas station, please be prepared. As we approached San Simenon, just north of our turn onto Hwy 46, we got a tremendous bonus; a beach full of California Elephant Seals even several babies. We were so close we could hear them breathing. It made for an awesome experience and photo opportunities. 

Kings Canyon National Park we arrived early the next morning and had some time before we could check into our campsite. We took some time to go into the visitor center, watch some short films on bears and controlled fires, and found out about all the special activities planned throughout the park.

One tour we had to take was to Crystal Cave one of over 250 caves here in the park and home to of some the parks bats. We were able to see some nice cave formations and got a very informative tour from our guide Beth.

Giant Forest Museum, General Sherman Tree, Tokopah Falls, Tunnel Log, and Big Trees Trail are some of the ones not to miss out on. We even got to go to a Study of the Nights Sky put on by a resident Astronomer Katie; it was a crystal clear night for it too not like back in Seattle. It was so much fun.

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