Tag Archives: California

Only in San Diego: 5 quirky things

(CNN) — San Diego is a veritable repository of the unique, the one-off and the rare.

This southern California city is home to the world’s largest lemon (the 10-foot-long fiberglass behemoth sits in Lemon Grove, a small town in metro San Diego) and also boasts the world’s largest collection of memorabilia from the late Dr. Seuss, who was a longtime resident of the city’s La Jolla community. And two products that couldn’t be more different, the ubiquitous WD-40 lubricant and Dr. Bronner’s soaps, both have roots here.

Check out five more quirky things unique to San Diego:

A civic organist who gives free weekly outdoor concerts

A public uproar broke out in 2011 when local leaders threatened to cut the city’s staff organist, a position that’s been on the payroll for nearly a century. Every Sunday afternoon since the organ was donated by sugar heirs John and Adolph Spreckels in 1914, a staff organist has stepped up to the keys of a 50-ton pipe organ at a pavilion in Balboa Park.

Read More: Only in San Diego: 5 quirky things

Cheap Travel: Saving Money on the 10 Best Winter Travel Spots

1. DEN – Denver

Aspen and Vail are the cities that come to mind most often when considering Colorado ski destinations. However, Dortha Vela of All About Travel told me these Colorado cities “are two of the most expensive ski destinations.” Plus, it turns out they’re not even that popular when compared to the capital city of Denver — perhaps for that very reason. Denver takes first place in our list of the most popular cities to visit in winter. And there’s plenty to do there besides ski, all at a reasonable cost. What to do: Aside from the close to 30 ski resorts in the city alone, you can also visit the famous Red Rocks Park and amphitheater for breathtaking views and great music, or the nearby Rocky Mountains State Park. How to save: Flights to Denver become more expensive the closer it gets to ski season, so if you plan on booking a trip to the snowy city, locking in a flight now will ensure you save hundreds of dollars. Colorado’s tourism website also has a section dedicated to aggregating deals on travel and attractions in the city.

To plan your trip today:
All About Travel
6104 Northwest 63
Oklahoma City, OK 73132
415.384.3880

Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is proud to present a major exhibition devoted to a truly unique American rock and roll band, Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip. The exhibit opened on  Thursday, April 12, as a part of the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Week events and is sponsored by McIntosh.  

“The Grateful Dead is a band that is identified with a remarkable era in American history, and, inasmuch as they embody that era, their work is timeless,” says Jim Henke, Vice President of Exhibits and Curatorial Affairs. “They’ve inspired many performers and bands, but none has exhibited their musical depth and cultural resonance. In a 30-year career, this group wrote their own rules and created a community unlike any band before or since.”

Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip explores the band from a non-linear point of view. Individual sections within the exhibit will be devoted to Grateful Dead as a recording group and a touring band, the fans who devotedly followed them, tapers and fellow travelers (people who were important to the band). It will include finished and working manuscripts for classic songs, handwritten notes from legendary taper Dick Latvala, artifacts from original sound designer Owsley “Bear” Stanley, and promoter Bill Graham’s Father Time robe and Grateful Dead Hotline answering machine.

Read More:  Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip

NEW Trip: Baja Blue & Gray Whale Extravaganza!

New Trip Announced – Baja Blue and Whale Combo 2013 – Whales Guaranteed!

Trip: Safari-style basecamp whale watching in Baja’s Magdalena Bay combined with lodge-based blue whale touring in Loreto Bay – whales guaranteed Feb-mid March!

Why this trip: Affordable soft adventure travel (this is not a kayak tour), guaranteed eyeball to eyeball gray whale sightings, chance to touch a gray whale, exclusive beach base camp in prime gray whale calving lagoon; combined with chance to snorkel and whale watch (blue and fin whales) in Sea of Cortez UNESCO World Heritage site, near Loreto, Baja California.

LORETO, BAJA CALIFORNIA — Being up close and personal with a gentle gray whale is something everyone should experience at least once in their life. Sea Kayak Adventures offers one of the best opportunities for this type of soul-rejuvenating and inspiring adventure. Magdalena Bay is federally protected by the Mexican government as a winter sanctuary for the California gray whale, where the whales give birth, nurture their calves and mate. The company has a novel offering – combining this special tour with a Loreto Bay snorkeling and whale tour in the Sea of Cortez. Both a national marine park and UNESCO World Heritage site, one can often see blue whales (the largest creature on the planet) and the slightly smaller fin whale.

Sea Kayak Adventures’ Isla Santo Domingo “safari-style” base camp is located right in the heart of the largest gray whale calving area in Magdalena Bay (Pacific side of the Baja peninsula), where we can see whales right from our camp. However, this adventure offers much more than simply seeing whales. On Sea Kayak Adventures’ whale watching tours, from six-man motorboats, participants have a chance to actually touch one of the 20,000 gray whales that winter in the waters of Baja California’s Pacific coast each February and March. It is hard to believe that in the 1950’s these gray whales were near extinction due to whaling.

“It’s the moment of a lifetime,” says SKA president Terry Prichard, “and gray whale sightings are guaranteed.” Each day motorized skiffs take participants out to the deeper waters of Boca de Soledad, where ‘friendlies’ have been known to swim up near the boat. In camp, as whales breach and spy-hop just offshore, guests can explore whalebone and shell-littered beaches and look for herons, egrets, shorebirds, dolphins, and spouting grays. (That sound after nightfall? Whales breathing.)

After the gray whale excursion, participants will go snorkeling and whale watching in Loreto Bay National Marine Park/UNESCO World Heritage site, based out of our downtown Loreto tour hotel. Here they will have a chance to travel alongside a massive blue whale – the largest creature on the planet, and/or it’s slightly smaller cousin, the fin whale, and even pods of curious dolphins.

Guides versed in whale natural history lead fun activities for participants, point out all wildlife, including leading birding excursions by demand, and prepare all meals in our huge camp kitchen. Whale guarantee – gray whales guaranteed Febrary 5 through March 10 – if none seen, the company will give participants a free day tour whale watching.

Tour participants will arrive on a Sunday and depart on a Sunday; with four nights’ hotel (with pool) accommodation in Loreto, daily whale watching by motorboat, all camping gear, naturalist guides, meals at camp, taxes, arrival airport transfer. This is not a kayak tour; novices are welcome. Airfare to Loreto in southern Baja California, Mexico, meals in town, national park fee are not included. Feb & March 2013 dates include air arrival and departure days. Cost: $1495 US for this eight-day tours (10% off for youth 17 and under). Alaska/Horizon airlines now fly into Loreto LTO from Los Angeles LAX five times a week.

 

To plan your trip today:

All About Travel
6104 Northwest 63
Oklahoma City, OK 73132
info [at] allabout-travel.com
405.384.3880

About All About Travel

Opened in 1978, All About Travel is located in the Oklahoma City area.  We are a
family owned and operated company that has strived to provide our clients with the highest quality of service for more than 30 years.  Our agents can arrange all your travel needs from the individual hotel and/or car reservation to an around the world cruise.  Nothing is out of reach.

We can help plan your honeymoon, your destination wedding or the much needed getaway for two.  Don’t forget about your business, we can handle all the travel needs for your company as well.  Anything from an airline flight and hotel for a meeting or all the planning needed for your next company-wide seminar.  We can arrange hotel space for all attendees and meeting rooms for all purposes.

Our agents travel to many destinations on FAM trips (Familiarization trips) these trips are designed by tour operators and cruise lines to make certain that travel agents are up-to-date on popular destinations and cruise ships.

So the next time you need to, or better yet, want to travel…Let us help, it’s what we do.

Charlie Dowd search continues between Fort Morgan, Colorado and McCook, Nebraska

Retired San Francisco firefighter, Charlie Dowd is still missing. Dowd was on a travel adventure from the SF Bay Area to Montreal to visit family. He did get off the train for smoke breaks and a fellow Amtrak passenger caught a image of Charlie (below).  He was wearing a Brown Princess Cruises Brisbane Australia t-shirt, grey camouflage cargo pants and white sneakers with Velcro straps, glasses and a grey bucket hat. This was the last known contact with Charlie.

Charlie may be disoriented as his medications, along with luggage and cell phone arrived in Chicago already on 9/14 without him. The medications he was suppose to be taking could cause him to be disoriented if not taken.

The family has been out looking for Charlie along the Amtrak route he would have taken. Their current focus is everywhere between Fort Morgan, Colorado and McCook, Nebraska.

Dowd was on the California Zephyr Train #6 from Emeryville, CA to Chicago. Pickups happened in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska. Below is the schedule of stops.

Update an hour ago (3:15 Central Time): The family is in Ft. Morgan, CO working with the Amtrak PD. The PD is coordinating search efforts in Eastern Colorado to Western Nebraska. The West Coast team is re-contacting hospitals and shelters in towns where the Zephyr stopped between Ft. Morgan and Naperville, IL. We appreciate the continued support from this extended community and ask that you continue to share this page to help us find Charlie. (missing person flyer and train route are in the photos)

Updated flyer:

Missing Person: Charlie Dowd – Please help us find him (FaceBook page)

McCook, Nebraska and Ft. Morgan, Colorado in search of Charlie Dowd

Lincoln, Nebraska residents your help is needed

Missing Person: Charlie Dowd on a travel adventure

Baja Espiritu Santo Sea Kayak Journey – La Paz, Baja

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico — Want a warm world class outdoor vacation this winter/spring without having to rough it?  Read on.  U.S.-based outfitter Sea Kayak Adventures Inc. is proud to announce the newest addition to their Loreto, Baja repertoire of fully guided luxury camping sea kayak and whale watching tours – paddling, snorkeling and exploring the wild and rugged Island of Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit Island) off La Paz, the capital city of southern Baja. The island is another jewel in the Sea of Cortez island collection off the southern half of Mexico’s forgotten desert peninsula, in waters teeming with whales, dolphins, colorful fish and seabirds.  The outfitter is world renowned for leading fully catered/guided groups of wanna-be novice kayakers to the turquoise coves and sea caves of uninhabited islands making up the Islands of the Sea of Cortez UNESCO World Heritage Site October through April and into remote gray whale calving lagoons along Baja’s wild west coast February through first week of  March.

“Just three hours by express van service north of Los Cabos (“Cabo”) where celebrities, mega resorts and tequila bars reign supreme, Espiritu Santo Island offers a tranquil, stress-free experience”, says company founder Terry Prichard.  “The accessibility, the history, the wildlife, the spectacular scenery and uncrowded nature of the uninhabited wilderness island makes this experience the polar opposite of the Cabo scene”.  “One could easily combine both La Paz and Cabo areas to visit on the same trip to the Baja peninsula if one wants”, he added.

“Each week we take groups of 12-13 travelers from all walks of life to a very remote part of Baja and we pamper them,” says owner Terry Prichard, a naturalist and veteran Baja guide since 1989.  He describes his guests as “open-minded people, ages 11-79, who enjoy being outdoors, being intimate with nature, but who do not want to be bothered with setting up camp and cooking.  We offer non-kayaking gray whale tours as well as sea kayaking tours. We delight in seeing our guests fall in love with Baja and the prolific marine life each week on our tours.”

Prichard and his crew paddle mostly two-person touring sea kayaks on 5 to 8-day tours departing weekly – note all tour itineraries include hotel nights in La Paz. Unlike its tippy whitewater cousin, a sea kayak is a comfortable and very stable craft, and basic paddling skills easily learned.  No previous kayaking or camping experience is necessary, as basic instruction and certified sea kayak guides are provided. Participants can enjoy naturalist-led hikes and snorkeling while the guides set up camp and prepare gourmet meals.   “Ah – savor margaritas and tapas on the beach as the sun sets, followed by sumptuous dinners crafted from the freshest ingredients. We take care of all the details while tailoring trips to meet everyone’s desires”, Prichard adds.

Espiritu Santo Island offers world class paddling in warm, pristinely clear, intensely blue waters and snorkeling in coves teeming with tropical fish, some found nowhere else on earth such as the Sea of Cortez angel fish. Opportunities for sightings of pods of playful dolphins, barking sea lions, leaping manta rays as well as fin and blue whales– the largest mammals on earth– await the patient paddler. With luck, we often see the occasional plankton eating whale shark Guests will explore sheltered turquoise coves, spectacular sea caves and headlands by sea kayak, discover lovely white sand beaches with sublime sunsets and brilliant star-gazing.  Custom tours for families and groups (such as all-women’s trips, yoga trips and families with teens only trips) can be arranged.

“For the active traveler, southern Baja has it all — striking desert scenery, sunny skies, warm water, uninhabited beaches and incredible marine life,” says Prichard of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, adding “our Baja tours continually make lists of the best outdoor adventures available by CNN, National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Outside Magazine, Yahoo.com, etc.  In the winter Baja is usually sunny and dry, in the 70-80’s F (26 C) in daytime and 50-60’s F (21) at night.”

All tours depart from and return to historic La Paz, the capital city of southern Baja, situated 1,000 miles south of the USA border (a 3-day drive), but just a 3-hour drive north of Cabo.  Prices start at $995 per person including airport transfer, taxes, 2 nights’ hotel, meals while kayaking, all sleeping/camping/kayaking gear, instruction and guides (1 guide per 3-4 guests). Alaska Airlines services La Paz on a daily basis from Los Angeles.  The company has operated in Mexico under full permit of the Mexican government since 1993.  The company is the first and only such outfitter to carry out all human waste, and go carbon neutral, and their local guides work actively with researchers to protect endangered sea turtles.  SKA is financially committed to the preservation of the local natural and cultural resources.

To plan your trip today:

All About Travel
6104 Northwest 63
Oklahoma City, OK 73132
info [at] allabout-travel.com
405.384.3880

About All About Travel

Opened in 1978, All About Travel is located in the Oklahoma City area.  We are a
family owned and operated company that has strived to provide our clients with the highest quality of service for more than 30 years.  Our agents can arrange all your travel needs from the individual hotel and/or car reservation to an around the world cruise.  Nothing is out of reach.

We can help plan your honeymoon, your destination wedding or the much needed getaway for two.  Don’t forget about your business, we can handle all the travel needs for your company as well.  Anything from an airline flight and hotel for a meeting or all the planning needed for your next company-wide seminar.  We can arrange hotel space for all attendees and meeting rooms for all purposes.

Our agents travel to many destinations on FAM trips (Familiarization trips) these trips are designed by tour operators and cruise lines to make certain that travel agents are up-to-date on popular destinations and cruise ships.

So the next time you need to, or better yet, want to travel…Let us help, it’s what we do.

Spring Break Baja: The “un-Cabo” Family-Fun-in-the-Sun Solution

Loreto, Mexico –Sea Kayak Adventures, Inc. today launched a new array of family-only tours in Baja and BC Canada for 2013:  The company has found the perfect venues for multi-generational soft adventure tours – including their new for spring break 2012 “Baja Family Kayaking Base Camp” designed for those who wish to experience Loreto Bay National Marine Park UNESCO World Heritage site and the islands of Loreto or La Paz in comfort and style.

Let your family share the breathtaking beauty of Baja with an adventure of a lifetime – at a relaxed, vacation-pace! Kid-friendly base camp trips allow for easy mornings without the concern of breaking camp, so you can sip your coffee and enjoy the rising sun from the comfort of a beach chair while the guides prepare breakfast for you and your family. A support boat accompanies these tours, so youngsters who tire of kayaking can ride along. Let entertaining and highly educated guides lead hikes, play games, and host hermit crab races while you enjoy happy hour (or participate!). Itinerary suitable for youth ten and older who are at least 4 1/2 feet tall (other June-July dates available as well) – youth under age 18 get 10% off. Parents and grandparents love being pampered while teens play and learn new skills and experience nature at its finest!

Create a new family tradition and priceless memories with your teenagers that will last a lifetime – learn to paddle a sea kayak and bond with your tween or teenager as endangered blue and fin whales – more than four times as long as your kayak – plumb the depths for tasty crustaceans in Baja’s Sea of Cortez. March and April 2012, a selection of six-day (four days of paddling and two hotel nights) trips is being offered. Paddle a leisurely 3-4 hours per day looking for the world’s largest animals and explore desert islands in Mexico’s newest national marine park – Loreto Bay National Marine Park/UNESCO World Heritage Site. No prior experience is necessary.

Along the way you’ll also spot frolicking dolphins and sea lions, snorkel with angelfish in 72-degree water, and search for rare blue-footed boobies and blue whales. Spend nights camping on white sand beaches in sheltered coves and dining on lasagna and dutch oven brownies under brilliantly starry skies framed by volcanic rock cliffs. Teens love the hermit crab races after dark on the beach!

Tours depart from and return to Loreto and/or La Paz, in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Stable two-person kayaks, paddling gear and instruction, snorkeling gear, meals and all camping supplies (including sleeping bags) are provided. Our naturalist guides are enthusiastic experts at activities helping families have fun together! The company also unveiled a new non-kayaking “Baja Family Gray Whale Base Camp” in Magdalena Bay gray whale sanctuary/calving ground in February and early March 2013, for kids as young as eight.

Price starts at $995 US per adult (and 10% off for teens) including two nights’ lodging in Loreto and three nights’ camping. Airfare is not included. Alaska/Horizon Airlines offer direct service (1 hour jet flight) into Loreto (LTO) from Los Angeles (LAX), or fly via Los Cabos.

Sea Kayak Adventures Inc is the only sea kayaking outfitter in Baja and BC Canada listed on National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s: “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth 2009” and named on National Geographic Travel.com “Best Deals for Adventurous Travelers 2010” and “Best Whale Watching Locations 2011”.

To plan your trip today:

All About Travel
6104 Northwest 63
Oklahoma City, OK 73132
info [at] allabout-travel.com
405.384.3880

About All About Travel

Opened in 1978, All About Travel is located in the Oklahoma City area.  We are a family owned and operated company that has strived to provide our clients with the highest quality of service for more than 30 years.  Our agents can arrange all your travel needs from the individual hotel and/or car reservation to an around the world cruise.  Nothing is out of reach.

We can help plan your honeymoon, your destination wedding or the much needed getaway for two.  Don’t forget about your business, we can handle all the travel needs for your company as well.  Anything from an airline flight and hotel for a meeting or all the planning needed for your next company-wide seminar.  We can arrange hotel space for all attendees and meeting rooms for all purposes.

Our agents travel to many destinations on FAM trips (Familiarization trips) these trips are designed by tour operators and cruise lines to make certain that travel agents are up-to-date on popular destinations and cruise ships.

So the next time you need to, or better yet, want to travel…Let us help, it’s what we do.

BAJA HO HO HO! PADDLE WITH SANTA IN BAJA!

LORETO, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR – Need a sunny idea for Christmas this year – how about a fully catered sea kayaking/snorkeling tour in Loreto, Baja?  Rumor has it Santa will make an appearance by kayak on the tour!   OR

Ring in the New Year snorkeling with tropical fish in this UNESCO World Heritage site, watching dolphins leap from your stable kayak, sipping margaritas on the beach, marveling at the most incredible stargazing imaginable.  Tours fine for novices.

Baja whale watching and sea kayaking tours also make a great gift idea for Christmas, milestone birthdays or even wedding registry for loved ones who enjoy soft adventure without having to fully rough it.  Help your loved ones attain their dream travel “bucket list”!  From 28 October 2012 through 2 May 2 2013, the U.S.-based outfitter offers weekly four to six-day guided kayak trips in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, and gray whale tours February and March 2013.  We’ll bake a cake for you from scratch in our camp Dutch oven, celebrating on a sandy beach under the stars!   And our guides have been known to whip out a guitar to serenade at sunset!

Surrounded by warm waters, the towering mountains of the Baja peninsula and cactus-dotted deserts, adventurers forget about all but the present, as they maneuver two-person kayaks through the winter gathering place of blue whales, and among pods of dolphins guided by our marine biologist sea kayak guides. Paddling alongside bus-size fin whales as they surface and sink mere yards from the kayak is the highlight of the tour.

Guests also explore the area’s islands on foot, snorkel in Mexico’s newest national marine park (Loreto Bay National Marine Park) also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and spend nights under the stars camping on secluded beaches in personal dome tents.  Loreto is the site of the first mission in all the Californias, built by Jesuits in 1697, still in use today as a Catholic cathedral open to visitors.   Sleepy Loreto is truly the UN-CABO of Baja.  A portion of all proceeds go to conservation organizations in Loreto.

These all-inclusive tours include kayaks and instruction, all gear, sleeping bags, camping supplies, all meals at camp, two nights at a Loreto hotel and airport transfer for prices starting at $895 US dollars, featuring an outdoor island happy-hour, complete with hors d’oeuvres and margaritas each day at sunset. Airfare is extra. Excursions are limited to 12-13 guests. No prior kayaking experience is necessary; all gear provided.

The company also offers an extra one to three-day gray whale adventure in Magdalena Bay on Baja’s Pacific coast each Feb and March. Participants will get the chance to get eyeball to eyeball to gray whales in quiet lagoons. Cost is $150 for full day tour including snacks and lunch, to $995 for 5-day tour there.

Not included: air fare from Los Angeles on Alaska Air http://www.alaskaair.com, gratuities, meals in town, $25 national park fee.  10% off for youth age 8-17.

To plan your trip today:

All About Travel
6104 Northwest 63
Oklahoma City, OK 73132
info [at] allabout-travel.com
405.384.3880

About All About Travel

Opened in 1978, All About Travel is located in the Oklahoma City area.  We are a family owned and operated company that has strived to provide our clients with the highest quality of service for more than 30 years.  Our agents can arrange all your travel needs from the individual hotel and/or car reservation to an around the world cruise.  Nothing is out of reach.

We can help plan your honeymoon, your destination wedding or the much needed getaway for two.  Don’t forget about your business, we can handle all the travel needs for your company as well.  Anything from an airline flight and hotel for a meeting or all the planning needed for your next company-wide seminar.  We can arrange hotel space for all attendees and meeting rooms for all purposes.

Our agents travel to many destinations on FAM trips (Familiarization trips) these trips are designed by tour operators and cruise lines to make certain that travel agents are up-to-date on popular destinations and cruise ships.

So the next time you need to, or better yet, want to travel…Let us help, it’s what we do.

Tea culture around the world

There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims

 

Tea time in London: 3 modern teahouses
Forget staid scones. Go to the right London spot, and you’re more likely to be served green-tea-infused scones or tea-smoked salmon squares with Japanese yuzu mayonnaise… CNN

 

Tea Culture in Los Angeles: 5 Tea Houses To Try
Jun 12, 2011 – Celebrate National Iced Tea Day on June 10 with a visit to a Los Angeles tea house. These venues offer exotic teas of the hot and cold varieties…Huffington Post


Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.  ~Chinese Proverb

Chinese Tea Culture, Tea Drinking Custom, Tea Tasting, Yum Cha
For the Chinese, tea drinking and tasting are not the same. The former is for refreshment and tonic effect. The latter has cultural meaning…Travel China Guide

 

Tea cultures around the world | Matador Network
Chinese green tea is as famous in the East as Earl Grey is in the West. For the best in Chinese teahouse culture, head to Chengdu.

 

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.  ~Thich Nat Hahn

 

50 years gone, Marilyn’s legend lives on

She was a star and a style icon, a “dumb blonde” who was anything but and an abandoned child adored by millions. She was, of course, Marilyn Monroe and she died 50 years ago this Sunday.

And yet, she lives on — on the big screen, in advertisements, in proposed plans for salons and cafes and, of course, in the hearts of fans fascinated by her life, her beauty and her untimely death.

“People relate to her because she came from a very humble background and through her own drive pulled herself up to become one of the greatest stars of all time,” said Greg Schreiner, president of the Marilyn Remembered Fan Club.

Read more: 50 years gone, Marilyn’s legend lives on