Volcanic Legacy Scenic Hwy-Northern California

Today we visited Lassen Volcanic National Park, where Lassen Peak is one of the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world. Its last eruptions were between 1914 and 1921. We drove Hwy 44 from Redding to the Park entrance, and the road was open to the Summit Lake Trailhead, where we had great views of Lassen Peak but couldn’t go any further because of the huge bank of snow still there. We saw ski tracks on the mountain and then met one of the fellows who had hiked up to the top earlier and had a great ski down back to his car. I guess May is the best time for spring skiing on Lassen Peak. We stopped a t Manzanita Lake on our way out to get reflections of the mountain in the clear blue water. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Shasta Dam and Trinity NF

It was sad leaving San Diego but nice to be on the road again. Our first stop was in Redding at the Premier RV Resorts. We drove up to see the Shasta Dam and to explore the area more. The water level was back up to almost normal height, at 602 feet high, it is the 8th tallest dam in the US. On our way back to Redding we stopped in Weaverville, a historic California Gold Rush town founded in 1850, nestled at the foot of the current Trinity Alps Wilderness Area. We stopped for lunch at the Strawhouse Cafe on Highway 299, with a beautiful deck overlooking the Trinity River. It was raining so we didn’t get to enjoy the deck but next time for sure, as we would definitely stop here again. After lunch we visited the Trinity Alps Wilderness, located between Eureka and Redding. It’s a beautiful forest with 55 alpine lakes to explore and high granite peaks known as the Trinity Alps. The Wilderness contains about 520 miles of hiking trails, including 17 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and 35 miles of the Bigfoot Trail. We will have to come back and do some hiking in this beautiful Wilderness. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Ski Trip to Aspen/Snowmass

Another wonderful ski trip, this time with the Chagrin Valley Ski Club and our friends from Ohio, to Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado. A destination with four mountains: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk; and two incredible towns, Aspen and Snowmass. We flew from San Diego to Denver to meet up with the group flying from Cleveland but arrived too late to catch the bus so we took a small van with the five others who were late arrivals as well. It was a long drive to Snowmass from Denver, four hours with a stop for groceries and beer. We stayed at the Top of the Village Condos, a perfect ski-in/ski-out location, and shared a two bedroom condo with Karen Moyer and Bruce Kahn. Lucky us, because we flipped for the Master bedroom and won. The first two days at Snowmass, the weather was picture perfect, blue skies and lots of snow. Monday night we took the free shuttle into Aspen to see the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour playing at the old Wheeler Opera House, built in 1889. We had dinner with the group at the Red Onion Restaurant, Aspen’s oldest historic restaurant and bar established in 1892, dating back to the silver boom of the 19th century. Continue reading

Antoni Gaudi – Barcelona’s Great Architect

Antoni Gaudi and his unique approach to the Art Nouveau Movement generated some of the most creative buildings you will see in Barcelona, they are unmistakable. We were fascinated by his work and wanted to experience as many as possible. The first we saw was the Casa Mila, La Pedrera, one of Gaudi’s main residential buildings and one of the most imaginative houses in the history of architect. Constructed between 1906-1912 for Pere Mila, an important Barcelona businessman. It was named La Pedrera, or stone quarry, due to its rocky outside appearance. We took the day tour and signed up for the night light show the same day. The house has nine levels, the basement was a garage for cars, ground floor for commercial, the mezzanine for offices, the first floor the owners’ home, the four upper floors for rent and the loft and attic for the laundry. We visited the upper floors and the rooftop, from which standout amazing chimneys, ventilators and stairway exits of almost sculptural proportions. In the evening we came back to the rooftop for a fabulous light show, see the video below. Continue reading

The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia is the most visited monumental site in Spain, over 3 million visitors per year, and our bus tour of 34 people with a guide was a small impact on the number of people already there. The challenge of making a half-completed building the most visited monument in a country, could only be achieved by a great, unigue architect, one of those that emerge only very rarely, one like Antoni Gaudi. On March 19,1882, the first stone was laid by the architect, Francecs de Paula del Villar, who submitted his resignation shortly after over a disagreement with the director. In November 1883, Gaudi began work on the Sagrada Familia, combining Gothic and Art Nouveau forms, and continued until his death on June 10,1926 after an accident, when only a quarter of the basilica was completed. This year it has reached its final stage of construction, and 2026 as its estimated completion date,100 years after the death of Gaudi, (1852-1926). Continue reading

Barcelona, Spain

Our first visit to Barcelona, Spain, after our ski trip to Chamonix, France, was such an amazing cultural and architecturally mind-blowing experience. We stayed in a beautiful hotel in the center of the city with easy walking distance to all the sights. The first day we joined the ski group on a bus tour of Barcelona. After seeing the famous Sagrada Familia Basilica (described in a separate post) we drove up to the Parc de Montjuic for great views overlooking the city and the harbor. The park itself was nice to walk around as it offers a lovely green space in the heart of Barcelona. Then we walked the bustling central promenade, La Rambla, a tree-lined pedestrian mall for 1.2 kilometers. It is lined with cafes, shops, market, and breathtaking medieval architecture everywhere. Continue reading

Ski Trip to Chamonix, France

Courmayeur Italy-8

Our first trip to Chamonix, France, we went with the Cleveland Metro Ski Club and our friends Karen Moyer and Bruce Kahn, plus 97 other skiers from Cleveland. Chamonix is the the site of the first winter Olympics in 1924. One of the oldest ski resorts in France and is known as the “gateway to the European Cascades”. We arrived in the morning after a long night flight and wandered around the quaint town of Chamonix until we could check into our room at the Hotel Prieure. There were 30 of us staying at this hotel and 70 staying at the Hotel Alpina. At night the narrow streets are lit up with bright snowflakes of all sizes, the shops and restaurants are open late, as the French begin their evening after 8pm. We had dinners in the hotel and also breakfast every day, (included in the package), and then hit the slopes right after breakfast. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu City was our destination for two last weeks in October, well known because of the famous London Bridge linking an island in the Colorado River with the main part of Lake Havasu City. We stayed at the Islander RV Resort on the island. We had a beautiful site looking out onto Lake Havasu. London Bridge was built in the 1830s and formerly spanned the River Thames in London, England. It was dismantled in 1967 and relocated to Arizona. Robert McCulloch purchased the bridge and he had exterior granite blocks from the original bridge numbered and transported to America to construct the present bridge in Lake Havasu City, established in 1964.  We played pickle ball every morning with a fun group of mostly Canadians. Went out on a boat for cocktail hour exploring Lake Havasu and walked the streets of Lake Havasu City. Continue reading

Las Vegas and Hoover Dam

Decided to stop in for a week in Las Vegas, from October 20th to the 29th, staying at the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort. It’s a beautiful RV park in the middle of the city, close to the strip. We spent an entire day walking up and down the main strip visiting all the different Casinos. No gambling for us but enjoyed seeing all the amazing architecture, and decor inside the buildings. I bought tickets to the Elton John Concert at Caesars Palace, so excited to see him live. We had dinner at the Gordon Ramsey Restaurant before going into the show, and what a fabulous show it was. He is quite the entertainer and we loved every minute of it, especially as we knew all the old songs. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Mt Timpanogos, Utah

Aspen Grove

Back in Utah at the Mountain Valley RV Resort in Heber City. We love to stop here on our way south as it is such a beautiful park with views of the mountains in Utah’s Wasatch Range from our site. This time we had a different agenda for stopping here as we wanted to climb Mt Timpanogos, it was listed on the top 20 hikes to make you feel like a Badass. Naturally we had to go for it!!! Mount Timpanogos also referred to as Timp, is the second highest mountain in the Wasatch Range, rising to an elevation of 11,752 ft. We left the RV Park around 8am passing the Deer Creek Reservoir with views of Mt Timpanogos in the distance. We drove to Aspen Grove to begin the 18 mile hike, out and back, to the summit. Continue reading