Tag Archives: california

Driving Speeds of California

Traffic Lanes & Driving Speeds

hwysaab

california freeways

# 1 lane # 2 lane # 3 lane # 4 lane
the passing lane cruising lane truck lane merging lane
speeders: 80 mph avg speed: 70 mph avg speeds: 65 mph avg speed: 55 mph

The chart above is NOT considered legal speeds, but they are kinda realistically what to expect on the FREEWAY. Interstates and busy freeways in California get cranking and CHP is usually out in force, earning revenue for the state, as well as ensuring the safety of the roads.

Senior drivers, tourists & outta stater visitors be warned – the closer you get to a big urban area, the higher speed and more aggressive the drivers will be. Large rigs and SUVs kill with impact, so slow down a little folks.

So much for Sammy’s “Can’t Drive 55”

Californians can’t drive anywhere near 55. Now that the laws have increased the statewide speed to 65 or 70 mph, there is no stopping ’em. Unfortunately the average speeds are increasing all over the west, as people zoom from place to place, city to city, in a never ending transient society. This leaves way more dirt roads and rural backcountry left to us.

TIP: Exit the rat race & take your time, for your sanity sake & safety… slow down.

On average over 3500 people die on California roadways each year.
Fatality Facts State by state

California SR = Highways

The freeway speeds above do not apply to narrower state routes and rural county highways. Most of these are one lane blacktop in each direction and are labeled 55 mph. Maybe slower for curves, tunnels and bridges. Be alert when driving and know that cell phone service is not always abundant on the back roads. At any time you can experience: wildlife crossing, rock slides across the road, downed tree (or branches) in the roadway, stalled vehicles w/ stranded motorists, snow or hail, or any other hazards that accompany typical backcountry travel.

No Guard Rails

La Porte Snow

California Highways
California: Outside

Helpful Routes

Southern California Short Cuts

Must head North out of LA? Skirting the backside of Los Angeles is always a possibility on a FRIDAY night. Taking 15N, 10W, 210W will put you in the opposite direction of most of the bad traffic flow.

Merge back up with I-5 North of San Fernando Valley. If you must get West to the coast, the Simi Valley 118, or the 126 through Fillmore, is the best option.

camp in routeRvs camping in route

Plenty of jump off spots for overnight camping on the Grapevine, inside Angeles National Forest & Los Padres National Forest.

food

#1 – Avoid Los Angeles area, if possible. This will add 1-4 extra hours on to your road trip depending on the ‘hellish & hectic’ reasons this area normally experiences. If you must venture through, try doing so at night after dark. Gas up and eat a meal before you reach this area, to avoid needing to stop in L.A.

gasoline

Watch out for frequent Cal-Trans freeway closures starting
in the midnight hours.

The Interstate 91 & Interstate 10 Eastbound are both bad situations during winter months due to Palm Springs weekenders & if snow is decent, the Big Bear ski crowds.

Angeles Forest Hikes Los Padres National Forest Maps San Berdardino mountains

desert roads

california

Lets face it, Vegas traffic back to Cali sucks.

The Interstate 15 is the main corridor that gets backed up on Friday nights Northbound at the I-10 & the I- 215 junction.

 

 

Southbound on Sundays is awaful from Barstow to San Bernardino. An alternate route is old Route 66 (best get a good map) & avoid the bumper to bumper in the high desert Mojave region.

OLD ROUTE 66, anyone?

 

 

Driving from Southern California

Headed to the Eastern Sierra or Death Valley – Make sure to take Interstate 15 straight up to US Highway 395N. The turn off is just south of Victorville. ” On the Road” gas up & quick food stop on US 395 is available in Adelanto & in the region known as ‘four corners’ @ Highway 58 junction.

But be warned it can get a little congested on Friday nights. An alternate is Interstate 15N to Interstate 215N to avoid most of the traffic from the west.

Typical afternoon rush hour problem spots in San Diego.

A small detour, if traffic is bad on Hwy. 78 in North County San Diego & you are headed Interstate 15 North. Twin Oaks Valley Road leads right up to Deer Springs Road & the Avocado Highway known as 15.

State Atlas Maps

Regional Maps

camptruck

dangerous

NOTE: I am keeping the old screen shot maps from MapQuest on this page to prove my age and experience on such topics. Sorry that I don’t have the same knowledge of the San Francisco Bay Area traffic, which can be as bad, if not worse than Southern Cal.

And I thank you for using my site. DanaMite

Areas to Avoid

Areas to Avoid if at all possible

traffic hell L.A.
Los Angeles is Traffic Hell, at any time of day

Charts below are from DanaMite’s  experience of living and driving in Southern California from 1990-2009.  Some of these areas may have become better or worse, depending on local circumstances and populations.

Traffic Jam Freeways:

San Diego

SD (4-6 pm)
Northbound 805/5 merge
Northbound 15/163 merge
Northbound 15 to Hwy.78
Eastbound 8 thru Mission Valley

Los Angeles

LA / Orange County (4-8 pm)
Northbound 405 LAX to San Fernando Valley.
Southbound 5 – Orange Co.
Eastbound 91
Eastbound 10

fleeing from SoCal –

  • Leave from work before 3 pm , if not
  • Don’t rush, take your time, leave after 6 pm
    (make sure you let the innkeeper know that you’ll be arriving late, and they’ll get quite upset after midnight)
  • Save yourself cash & stay only one night – Saturday Night (altho some places, esp B&Bs usually require a 2 night minimum stay)
returning to SoCal –

Sundays 3 pm – 9 pm – almost all major arteries coming into a city can get backed up.
Grapevine/ Tejon Pass from Bakersfield, I-5
US Hwy 101 South, from Santa Barbara can get bad
I-15 Westbound coming from Las Vegas
I-10 Westbound coming from Palm Springs
Hwy. 91 Westbound coming from the East

hwy highway

 

I80traffic

your escape route outta town
preplan for freeway gridlock – before you get stuck in it.

Region – San Diego
freeway days times problem areas 
5 N weekdays 4-7pm 805 merge to Encinitas
15 N weekdays 3-6pm Mira Mar to Escondido
8 E weekdays 4-6pm Mission Valley
to LaMesa
5 weekends 11am-4pm summer months
– beach traffic
5 near Del Mar all week 11am-7pm Horse Races
JUNE – SEPT
Region – Los Angeles
freeway days times problem areas 
5 N weekdays 4-7pm Orange County to LA
5 S weekdays 4-7pm LA to Orange County
405 N all the time 1-9 pm LAX airport to San Fernando Valley
405 S weekdays 4-7pm LAX airport to Long Beach / Orange County
405 weekends 10am+ summer months – beach traffic
10 E weekdays 3-7pm jct of Interstate 605 to Interstate 15
91 E weekdays 4-7pm winter months: Big Bear ski traffic can be heavy until 11pm

freewaybackup

metro / metropolis

Term used to differentiate a single city from a grouping of cities. Large urban centers draw in the good and bad – crowds, businesses, services, criminals and the homeless. The city centers will have hospitals, grocery, fast food, restaurants and big box chain stores.

califrepublic

Illegal raves and outdoor parties, with unruly young people can also be found in rural or forested areas. If you come across an abundance of cars and vehicles, parked along the roadside in a remote area, you will find a large event nearby – if you follow the blasting electronic music. Drive many miles away (to another spot) if you are seeking a quiet camping experience.

star

After Dark: World Gone Crazy

Civil Unrest in Cities:

2020 UPDATE – In this time of uncertainty, we feel it necessary to let you know about real-life threats and cautions you should consider while traveling. Lockdowns, curfews and criminals are now bigger concerns, along with the growing police state. Recently released inmates: Criminals will more likely prey on people and property at night, when less people are out and less light will protect their identity.

FREAKS COME OUT AT NIGHT. Protestors that plan their marches during the day are safer, and are way different than the restless ones who choose hit the streets after dark. The thugs, hoodlums, and kids (who seek the thrill of danger) are more likely to be out and about at night. Looting, arson and violence escalates after the sun goes down.

  • DO NOT travel or drive at night inside a large city or metropolis.
  • DO NOT visit an unfamiliar city or metropolis, at night.
  • DO NOT dine out in a city or metropolis, at night. If you need to shop, do so in daylight hours.
  • DO NOT park on the street overnight; find a parking lot, or a private driveway – to leave your vehicle while you sleep.
  • GIVE your timeframe and itinerary to someone you trust, and stay in contact throughout your travels.
  • NEVER leave anything inside your car, as these unknown items are just a reason for the possibility of a break-in. Always lock your  vehicle and set the alarm.
  • REFUELING/RECHARGING your vehicle in a city is often necessary while traveling; Choose a freeway exit outside of the city center and use a well lit gas station or recharging station. Lock your vehicle if you need to go inside.
  • BE CAUTIOUS of strangers that approach you out in public with questions or small talk. Thieves often use this strategy to catch you off-guard. Couples walking around with a gas can, asking for spare change, can also be a set-up to take advantage of you. Tweekers and drug addicts will use a wide variety of tactics, so be aware of their behaviors when you see them.

check

Camp Kitchen Care

Care & Cleaning of Camping Gear

actionpackers

Care for your Mess Box –
Camp Kitchen Equipment & Cooking Gear:

Camping should be stress free & fun. Good preparation in advance can make the start of your trip a breeze. Store all your camp gear in one common area – stacked, cleaned and ready to roll for the next adventure.

  • No matter how tired you are after a long trip, do not stick that kitchen storage box away in the garage or basement. You may discover bugs, soiled dishes & the mold from hell months or years later when you go to use it again.
  • After every camp trip, bring the mess box into your kitchen at home and take time cleaning it and restocking.
  • Over the next few days clean every dish, pot, pan, skillet. Replace those usable goods: paper plates, towels, plastic forks, etc. A printed list of essentials may help you stay organized, so as not to forget anything.
  • Besides spices, canned goods, do not store ANY FOOD items in this box, as it will only attrack rodents and bugs while in storage.
  • This mess box is an excellent place to store a portable water filter and camping fuel canisters. These two important items can be used in an emergency or during a power shut off.
  • Repack the entire mess box as if it is ‘ready to go’ again & then put it away. It will be a nice treat to easily access your goods the next time you wanna bolt out the door for a spontaneous camping trip.
  • Repair or replace any broken items. Stock fuel canisters and batteries; Change out burnt lightbulbs.
  • A mess box also doubles as a survival box, so if you store it in an easy-to-access place in your home or garage, you will be able to get to it during or after an emergency situation.

stove_coleman

Dirty, baked on charred mess all over the stove top. HINT: never use oven cleaner on your camp stove top. It will burnish it, dull the finish & it won’t be looking shiny anymore. Baked on goo is only gonna come off with elbow grease & a good scrubber sponge.  (Or maybe SimpleGreen cleaner). Even the steel wool soap pads leave weird marks on aluminum metal surfaces. BE CAUTIOUS w/ cleaners on your camp stove.

storageshelves

Make a place for it! Put all your outdoor gear in the same spot in your home; the garage or closet may be the best place, but the kitchen or entry hall could also be a decent site. This way you know where everything is, right? The headache of preparing for a camp trip will be minimal once you get organized. Store all camping related items on your camping shelf.

indianflat

ALWAYS LEAVE A CAMPSITE CLEANER THAN YOU FOUND IT

Each year more of our public lands are being CLOSED off to “us” because of OUR neglect. Litter, graffiti, ammo trash and off-roading abuse can be good excuses for the rangers to close our precious forests and deserts. Be a good steward of the land and teach others the proper ways to enjoy nature, without destroying what little we have left.

watercont

biodegradable soapsCamp Soaps!
don’t pollute the streams, use biodegradable soaps

Large refillable 5, 7 or 10 gallon water containers are available with a faucet type fitting. Look for brands that are BPA free, so you can be assured you’re not drinking chemicals that leach from plastic into your precious water.

Store the water container up high, with the lid off & a rag in the opening to prevent mold, a funky smell or bugs crawling inside.

airout

cloth bag
SOLO TRAVELERS TIP: Cloth bags are handy for camp dishes.

food

Comparing Camping Cookware

Cast Iron – griddles, skillets and dutch ovens have stood the test of time and hold up longer than any other option. Cast iron cooking is DanaMite’s favorite, especially for cooking right on the campfire. It’s the only “over the fire” cookware that can handle hot coals and direct flames. Foil liner or parchment makes clean  up quick.

With all that being said, cast iron is not for backpacking, due to the excess weight. Numerous backpacking cookware setups exists and new inventions are always coming to market. Search for light weight cooking stoves and cookware.

Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimers and dementia, so it’s best not to cook with cheap aluminum pots and pans. Some high tech, non-stick, backpacker brands of cookware may be made of anodized aluminum and will be of higher quality. As long as the the anodized surface isn’t scratched or chipped, it is safe to use.

Non-stick cookware. Clean up is already a pain when camping. Why not make your camp life easy? Teflon. Well, first off. Teflon is now known to be harmful to humans and bad for the environment. Secondly, toxic fumes can be emitted from teflon pans, at high temperatures.

And if all else fails and you’re really in a pinch, you can use the small sauce pan from home. Just don’t tell anyone.

bare bones basics

see also –

wash tent in tub

how to wash your tent

how to clean camping gear

cleanout

camp

Camp Kitchen Rules

springtable

check

rodents to raccoons / bats to bears / fish to frogs

Outdoor Kitchen Rules:

    • At home you can let your dirty dishes sit for days in the sink, but not out here. As much as you hate to, wash the dishes right after your meal – so you don’t attract wildlife to your camp. Heat wash water to make cleaning up easier on your hands. A large towel helps w/ drip dry process, so carry old towels.picnic
    • Picnic tables outside in the elements and are used by everyone, including the animals and rodents. Bring a table cloth, plastic, or an old sheet to cover the table. Hold it down with heavy objects on each end.

Hantavirus is a serious and deadly lung infection that is caused from inhaling fine dust particles from rodent droppings.

      • Avoid eating or preparing food directly on the ground. Place a ground tarp down and then a picnic blanket, at the very least.
      • Use caution (and a wet sponge) when staying overnight in rustic cabins, tent cabins.
      • Beware of older buildings that may be or may have been populated with rats or mice. Bring tarps, sheets and extra blankets to minimize the dust level. It’s advisable NOT to sleep or eat in any place that has evidence of mice turds.
      • Avoid sleeping or camping in caverns or caves, as rodent populations are in excess.
      • Do not feed wildlife, birds, squirrels or rodents. They can carry rabies and/or many other diseases.camp

    garbage (pack it out)

        • Put food left overs in the ice chest as soon as it cools. Use paper towels to wipe food residue out of pots – before washing. Dispose of trash food into paper grocery bag.  Dispose of paper bag & towels into the campfire. Let it burn down all the way w/ the last wood scraps; No more food smells to attract bears!
        • Do not leave the garbage outside overnight. Deposit trash in a dumpster at campground, or treat it like food and lock it away in a vehicle. Double bag it – in case it leaks. Always carry extra black trash bags when traveling, to clean up litter. These large bags can also be used as storage for blankets and pillows.campfire

      campfire (safety)

        • Obtain a free campfire permit from the local ranger station, if you plan to cook outdoors, using a stove or a fire. Know current fire conditions and obey RED FLAG restrictions on fire.
        • Do not leave campfires, lanterns or candles burning unattended at camp. Make sure the propane or butane fuel is turned off (at the stove and at the tank) after a meal. Drowned campfires before bedtime, or when you leave camp.

      washing (clean)

            • Do not wash dishes or cookware directly in the stream (lake, creek, river). Bring a large bucket or wash tub. Avoid dipping dirty dishes or pans into the lakes, rivers, or creeks. Wash nearby without putting soap into the natural waterway. Some campgrounds do not have piped water, so carry your own.
            • Disperse wash water over the ground at least 200 feet from nearest stream, river or lake.
            • Use a sponge scrubber with soap in the handle for convenience w/ minimal liquid. Store it is a ziplock baggie. No more chasing the floating soapy sponge down the creek, in the cold, swift current.
            • Same rules apply when washing your hands in the creek or bathing your body in a lake. Keep the soap to a minimum and rinse soap off – away from the shoreline of the lake, river or creek.

            water (raw water)

            • Do not drink untreated water from a lake or creek, no matter how fresh or clean it looks. Boil water, or bring a portable water filter for use when camping/hiking. If you carry bottled water, pack trash out; recycle bottles.
            • Boil water, Boiling is sufficient to kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses and protozoa.
              • If water is cloudy, let it settle and filter it through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter.
              • Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute. At altitudes above 5,000′, boil water for 3 minutes.

            Giardia is often found in rivers and streams. These organisms exist in waters because they exist in our digestive tracts and those of other animals. So anywhere that there’s poop near water, that water could contain pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Aeromonas, Yersenia enterocolitica, Leptospirosis, Listeria, or Vibrio, in addition to a suite of viruses and protozoan parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Some only cause short-term, if severe, gastrointestinal distress. Others can cause issues that last for weeks, months, or even years.

            califrepublic

            wildlife

            • Bears? If you are camping in ‘bear country’, do not cook in or near the tent or sleeping cots. Cook downwind from your sleeping area. Use metal bear boxes for food storage, when provided at campground. If not, use the trunk of your vehicle. Windows up!
            • Two large plastic boxes/containers with lids help in storing items properly, away from rodents & rain. Use one box for kitchen wear & Use one box for food storage. Wooden crates or plastic crates can also work.
            • Keep cooler in the shade -always! When stored in a vehicle, place blankets or tarps over ice chest to prevent sun from baking down on it. Overnight – put the cooler inside a vehicle. Windows up!

            camp

        racoonwarnsign
        click to enlarge
            • Raccoons are super-crafty creatures and can get into almost anything. Close your car windows at night. Tarp down the truck bed securely. Bring an extra tie down strap or two, to wrap the cooler or food box.
            • No food or SCENTS in the tents! Animals are attracted to smells. No BBQ sauce t-shirt or greasy jeans. No snacks, no candy, no cough drops, no toothpaste, no ointments, no deodorant. Store those scented items closed up in a vehicle, or in a metal bear box.
            • Bats may come in close at  night to eat mosquitoes and other flying bugs. On occasion they may find your cabin interesting and want to explore; Or a well lit motorhome could be inviting, so keep the screen door closed.
        taters
        Breakfast taters, coming up.

        How to deal with Bears & food storage

        RUBtub

        A large rubber container with lid is great for storage & doubles as a wash tub, so you don’t end up adding suds to the stream. Many mountain streams are used for local water sources & the less polution in them, the better.

        watercont_i
        Camp Kitchen Care

        tarptenttub
        Ground tarps help keep gear clean and provides for food prep space.


California Car Rentals

Auto Rentals, 4×4 Rentals
in and around California

Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, Inc.
california

Automotive Rental Agencies
Baja Car Rentals
Bus Service / Tours
Camper Van Rental Shops
Hummer Rentals
Jeep Rentals
Limousines
Motorcycle Rental
Off Road Rentals
SUV Rentals
Trucks 4×4 / 4WD
RV Motorhome Rental

4x4    califrepublic    camptruck

Tobin Bridge California
Tobin Bridge California

#1 RV Rental Marketplace

CaribouWoodbridge
Queen Lily bridge, Caribou Road, North Feather River

Auto Rental Service Agencies


Alamo 844-354-6962
Budget 800-218-7992
Enterprise 855-266-9289
Hertz 800-654-3131

SFthennow

Rent-A-Wreck San Francisco, CA 877-877-0700
Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, Inc.
hwy highway

june lake loop
June Lake Loop is a popular spot for Autumn Colors

camp

bajaexplorin
Paved roads are the main highways in Baja, everything else is usually DIRT

Baja California Mexico Car Rentals

Some San Diego car-rental companies will rent vehicles for driving into Baja California & will provide Mexican auto-insurance. Franchises below can have location drop offs & pick-ups in the US or over the border in MX.

ABC RENT-A-CAR
Costa Mesa, CA 949-200-3367

AVIS Rent a Car
San Diego, CA 619-688-5000
Otay Tijuana 619-588-1309
Mexico 800-770 2847
Baja California Norte, Mexico

DOLLAR
800-800-4000 MX & SD
San Diego Airport San Diego, CA
Tijuana, Baja California

ENTERPRISE 855-266-9289
San Diego, CA 619-696-5000
Mexicali, BC 686-514 2406
en Español 1-877-416-0000

NATIONAL CAR MX
800-716-6625

CALIFORNIA BAJA RENT-A-CAR
619-470-7368
Trucks, Vans, Jeeps, SUV, 4×4 vehicles

Baja Insurance
Buy Baja Insurance online

SequoiaSUV
Toyota Sequoia in Lakes Basin Recreation Area
SUVtrips
Access more roads w/ a Sport Utility Vehicle

SUV and 4×4 Rentals

These days most all car rental agencies have Sport Utility Vehicles for rent, but if you need 4 wheel drive for your trip, then make sure 4WD is an option.

4x4

granitegravelrd
Hard core roads: 4×4 may be needed to reach secluded camp sites in California.

Click below for off-road rentals all around California, from fully outfitted Jeeps (for a week) to quick quad rentals at the dunes (for a few hours).

4 wheel drive rentals = 4×4 Rentals

Overland Jeep Rentals w/ camping roof top tent and gear;
ATV and Quads @ beach sand dune park

snow

snow & ice?

Heading up to the mountains for anything fun? then you better ask rental car company about snow forecast and tire chains – or buy some in route.

OFF ROADING, for sure

If you plan to drive on serious dirt roads for hundreds of miles, a week of camping, rock crawling mountains, take a spin on the desert sand dunes, or want to drive into Mexico, then you will need extra insurance. Ask and expect to pay $$$.

likearental
Drive It – like a rental. (Perosi) Moab UT – Crawloween 2000

wildflower

mountains

Air Travel

California Airplanes & Travel

Baja Mexico Flights
Best Times to Fly
Cheapest Airfares
California Local Air Charters
Sightseeing Flights
Small Town Airports

Air planes burn major fuel. More than one-tenth of all transportation-related carbon emissions across the United States comes from air travel, according to the EPA.

Estimates say rail travel emits less than one-third of the CO2 relative to what air travel does. Consider a longer journey, taking in more scenery and traveling by train; California has lots of options.

SDskyshot
San Diego Harbor from above.

 

airportBiggest destination airports in California

SAN – San Diego

SFO – San Francisco

LAX – Los Angeles

ONT – Ontario

SMF – Sacramento


Logo OneTravel 125x125

Popular connector flights include – 

  • RENO, NV
  • LAS VEGAS, NV
  • PHOENIX, AZ
  • PORTLAND, OR
  • SEATTLE, WA
  • DENVER, CO
  • SALT LAKE CITY, UT
fly2sacto
Flights to Sacramento

Best Times to Fly

Time of the Flight:
Book a flight before 7:00 am or after 7:00 pm. Also, Saturday & Sunday flights may eligible for off-peak pricing.

Day of the Week:
Certain fares are priced lower on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Saturdays

Holiday Travels:
Days surrounding a holiday or 3 day weekend are usually not the best choice for a deal. These are considered “blackout” days. Try to get a “red-eye” (late night) flight just before the holiday rush.

Six major airlines control nearly three-quarters of the air market & airfare prices.


Keys to savings:

Be flexible. Jump on bargain prices and then figure out why you want to go there. If you must travel to Point B for a specific visit, only purchase during deep sale periods.

Familiarize yourself on discount airline routes. You may be able to travel to a city within 150 miles of your final destination, but save hundreds in doing so.

Check out the number of Internet sites that sell tickets below the official, or published fares. Many offers are completely non-refundable and not exchangeable for other travel dates.

How to fly on a private jet for under $150 per person

takeoff
San Diego airport take off

California – Local Air Charters

Stratos Jet Charters, Inc.
888-593-9066

JSX – JetSuite Air
800-435-9579

Premier Air Charter, LLC
San Diego, CA
619-316-5637

LGB – Long Beach Airport
serving: Mammoth, Reno, South Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon
562-570-2600

Desert Jet Service
Palm Springs, CA
800-381-JETS (5387)

Sierra Aviation
703 Airport Rd. #A
Bishop, CA
760- 872-2202

mountains

Sightseeing Flights

Small Town Airports
Rural California and Remote Destinations

California A to Z

Municipal airports, county air fields, remote landing strips, regional air port links are now listed individually on the town pages under local links.

Cabo

Baja Air Services

Aero Mexico
800-237-6639

serving:
Cabo San Lucas
La Paz
Loreto
Los Cabos
Tijuana

Los Padres National Forest


Popular Airline Deals !

Ghost Towns in California

California’s Historic Ghost Towns

Historic cities and towns are commonplace inside California, but very few towns are totally abandoned. By definition ‘ghost towns’ are population locations that have previously thrived (usually in mining), but they’ve ultimately have been deserted.  Sometimes a few residents will stick around for the seclusion, but the place often appears empty. Finding an open business is a rarity.

generalstore
inside the old general store

North Bloomfield allows visitors inside the buildings to examine the furnishings, decor, fixtures and the interior style. As part of a ranger guided daily tour, you can explore these historic structures up close and personal.

ghost towns

towns in business

Calico, CA
Oatman, AZ
Pioneertown, CA
Randsburg, CA

almost abandoned

Ballarat, CA
Bodie State Historic Park
Cerro Gordo, CA
Darwin, CA
North Bloomfield

shackleaning

California mining ruins

findingfall
Malakoff Diggins State Park

California ghost town

deserted mines & ghost towns

Garlock, CA
(ripped down by Knotts Berry Farm, for decor at their amusement park)

Panamint City, CA
(old mining camp, way above Panamint Valley)

Montgomery City, Hwy 6
(old mining site, 4×4 required. N of Bishop, CA)

Skidoo, Death Valley NP
(old mining ruins, near Wildrose Canyon)

Tucki Mine, Death Valley NP
(old mining camp, near Wildrose Canyon)

field deserts
North Mojave Desert
greenshack
Randsburg, California; circa 1999
skidoo
skidoo mine, DVNP

woodsiding

Seasons of California

spring summer autumn winter

All Four Seasons in California

californiaWhile some may think there are only 2 seasons in California

WINTER (the wet season) and SUMMER (the dry, hot season) which may also be known as Fire Season (as in wildfires).

There are indeed 4 Seasons in California:

However – Spring and Autumn are much shorter, as rapid swings in rain and drought (weather related events) often dominate the West Coast region.

And by the way, Earthquake Season is any time of year.

june lake loop
June Lake Loop is a popular spot for Autumn Colors

campCamping Season can be all year long in California, where we often have mild winters, sometimes without much precipitation.

Southern California has camping and hiking all the time, in every area. Deserts are a favorite camp destination in the winter months, usually December thru March. Find more info on Desert Camping. See also, a page on Winter Camping.

The Central Coast and Central Valley regions often have campgrounds available and open year-round. Northern California and the Sierra Nevada mountains get most of the real wet weather, between November and April, so campgrounds usually close (for half the year) depending on weather conditions.

tableviews
High Country Sierra Nevada mountains

Often the higher elevations of California (5000’+) can only be accessed by vehicle during summer months. Deep snowpack means paved roads are usually closed for the majority of the year (Nov-May) and sometimes, during a ‘good’ winter, the main Sierra highway routes do not open up to public access until June or July. Read more on Sierra Road Conditions.

potrerocabin

California Road Conditions

snow conditions

June Gloom in California

june gloom

seasonal weather patterns

Late spring in California is a wondrous time of year for getting out and exploring. Thousands of prime hiking trails and camp spots, coupled with relatively mild weather throughout the state, should insure that your ‘gotta see’ list is long. Total Escape is stuffed full of weekend ideas and your excuses for not leaving the house could be vanishing with the warm weather.wildflower

However, for those dwelling in the coastal regions of our great state, spring isn’t all it is cracked up to be. I’m talking about the dreaded marine layer fog, more affectionately referred to as ‘June Gloom’ or ‘May Gray’. This weather pattern can even last into July and August!

The hotter it is inland, the more likely the beach will be cloudy. Advection fog occurs when warm, land air moves out over cool, ocean water. The cold, California Current and upwelling produce cool, moist marine layers that blanket the entire coastline up and down the state. San Francisco is notorious for its dense fog.

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Many tourists and newcomers in California expect warm summers with plenty of sunshine, only to be disappointed by dreaded cloudy days. Otherwise known as overcast!

April was warm, but May is gray. It can be annoying, but why wait it out at the beach? … just head east to catch some rays.

califrepublicIf you’re like most folks who prefer the bright, warm sunshine to the gray, cold mist of a heavy marine layer, you might want to head inland. In most places throughout the state it is warm & the sun is shining and very warm inland by June. It only takes only a few miles of eastward travel to lose the gloom and be basking in the warmth of yet another classic California day.

Although, triple digit heat can also begin around June 1st in parts of the southwest. Regions like Death Valley, Vegas, Arizona, and the Central Valley of California often see temperatures creeping past 100 degrees, in the month of June. Consider that tidbit in your road trip planning. Check the forecast.

You may need winter jackets for the campsite at 5000′ elevation – but air conditioning on the drive there. A wide swing in day time temperatures can be expected in Cali.

Coastal Fog California

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campCamping season is warming up and the crowds are often sparse at the start of the season. Campgrounds are most crowded when “school is out for summer break”, so if you want a quiet camp, choose to explore the back roads.

Travel season is non-stop in California, all year long; and now, so is Wild Fire season.

campfireJULY 1st typically marks the start of the seasonal NO-BURN DAYS: no more open burning, no residential brush burns, no campfires outside of developed campgrounds.

Check with the local rangers for specific conditions. Cal Fire, USFS, BLM, County Fire Agencies

snowSNOW MELTS – June is also the month that many of the snow covered mountain passes finally open up for the summer season. These are the main paved routes that go over the highest points in NorCal and the Sierra range, making Wilderness Areas and alpine lakes accessible. Wildflowers will bloom May-July in the Sierra Nevada!

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California Road Conditions (click map to see more info)

(California State Routes, Interstate & US Highways)

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Summer Solstice Campout – JUNE 20-22