Archives for category: – Historic Town
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We park next to a huge, mobile sling used for hauling boats out of the water.

If you’re into into historic towns and boats, and you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest, do yourself a favor and check out Port Townsend, Washington. It sits on peninsula that forms the entrance to Puget Sound and is one of those rare, old towns which is situated to engage the sea. A drive to the local boat yard confirms this. Everywhere vessels from from small sailboats to huge trawlers are on the hard, awaiting refits and repairs. Cape George boats are built there. It’s a nice place.

The area along the waterfront, is known as “downtown.” When we asked about a good local pub, the folks at the natural food store pointed us up the hill (toward “uptown”) to the Uptown Pub. This is a classic bar with good vibes, good food, and local beers. We happened to be there for open mic night and also saw some talented musicians. One guy even came up with his cello… and rocked, playing it traditionally and like a guitar. It was pretty amazing. We’re considering it as a home base for our upcoming Pacific Northwest Trip.

To get there, take Highway 20 north from 101as it runs along the Olympic National Forest. More photos below. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Nik Schulz
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After heading out of Sedona we made our way over to Prescott for some more backcountry exploration and to say hello the team at Overland Journal.

A quick note: if you find yourself on Highway 89A about 20 miles northeast of Prescott, you’ll be within spitting distance of Jerome, AZ. Do yourself a favor and stop. Jerome is an old mining town that’s half deserted, half lived-in and 100% amazing. I’d tell you more but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop. Word had it there was a BBQ on at the Overland Journal.

Update: Here’s a quick video of the trip.
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On the road again heading through Arizona.

Photo: Natalie Menacho

In the first half of June Natalie and I got on the road again for our first big trip of the year. We were headed to the Southwest, land of painted deserts and amazing canyons. Our plan was to get to Taos, New Mexico, as quickly as possible, then head slowly back to Sonoma County and see what we could along the way. On our first night we made it to Barstow. We asked the woman at the motel what drove the Barstow economy. She said, “People trying to get to somewhere else.”

The next morning, on our way to do just that, I didn’t fill up the tank, thinking gas would be cheaper on the highway. I was wrong. It kept getting more expensive the further into the desert we got. And then, after a while, there simply weren’t any more gas stations. Just as I was about to reduce our speed to make the most of our dwindling fuel, a gas station appeared like an oasis — I think it was even called Desert Oasis. Saved! Except that gas was $5.00 a gallon. OK, half a tank then. $50 later, we were back on the road. In Needles, California, right on the Arizona border, I filled up the rest of the tank at something like $4.89/gallon. As soon as we crossed into Arizona it was something like $3.89. D’oh. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Nik Schulz

Last week I whisked my girlfriend, Natalie, away for a few days on the Mendocino coast. We’d read about a couple of nice places to stay and went up to have a look around.

In its current incarnation, Mendocino is mostly known for its new-age outlook, its hippies (which are locally avaialable in both M-series-BMW-driving and gritty-original flavors), and, according to Natalie, for a dried-seaweed snack known as “Sea Crunchies.” What is perhaps lesser known is Mendocino’s swarthy, seafaring past.

Why seafaring? One word: Timber. The town took off in the 1850s when the Gold Rush triggered a huge building boom. Money flowing down from the Sierras built San Francisco (and rebuilt it again after the 1906 earthquake) with the help of a billion board-feet of redwood taken from the nearby Big River watershed. Most of it left by sea and the remains of this seafaring history can still be seen today.

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Silver City, Idaho in its heyday in 1892

We hadn’t planned on going to Silver City. Heading to Boise up Hwy. 95, the easy way, was what we had in mind. But there we were in tiny, little Jordan Valley, Oregon, having lunch at a diner three miles from the Idaho border, when I spotted the above photo on the wall. I had a feeling this was going to be good. “Do you know how long it takes to get to Silver City?” I asked our waitress to no avail. She hadn’t heard me.

“At least an hour,” answered the woman at the counter. “How are you planning on getting there?” I pointed out the window at Butch (my Mitsubishi Montero), with his Hi-Lift jack and bull-bar front bumper. “With that.”

“That should work,” she said. I wouldn’t take a normal car though.”

“But don’t go in the rain,” our waitress then chimed in. “The road gets real greasy.”

I looked at Natalie. She was feeling a little under nourished from her iceberg salad—southeastern Oregon hadn’t provided many options for my favorite vegetarian—and was eager to get to Boise. Despite a craving for Thai food, she said she was game and soon we were on a dirt road headed out of town. Read the rest of this entry »